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June 20, 2007

Facing the Music

by Vanessa Bertozzi

I'm so glad to have been invited to participate in this blogging. I've learned a lot and I'm looking forward to the session tomorrow in Nashville.

I'm reflecting on one of the young people Henry and I profiled in our chapter: Ed, whose band Grizzly Bear has now taken off to the point that they have had sellout tours and been featured in Rolling Stone. When I first met Ed a short time ago, he'd been making music alone in his bedroom, singing into his computer and sampling percussion noises from clanking everyday objects against his desk. His work is one of millions of user generated content circulating on web. Many don't go so far up the stream to a record deal, radio play, magazine covers, and sold out shows. Darling of alternative rock, Beck came to engage with participatory media the perspective of already being famous. Beck released his album Guerolito, with the intension of his fans remixing it for the follow-up remix album. Both artists have live performances, both have made recordings and used distribution methods that invite the participation of others online and off. In this way, pop music (alternative now being a subcategory of pop) is both bottom up and top down. And so pop music is addressing the changes in expectations of how people interact with art and music. And they expect to be able to have hands on manipulation, dress up in it and build things with it. And ultimately, they make meaning from those experiences. It all seems like a good fit for pop music.

There are many challenges facing classical music professionals.
In these concluding remarks, we usually hear people leaving us with rousing questions of "Why is this important?" I think we all know why this discussion about the future of the symphony orchestra is important. What we need to figure out is how to make it happen, the dirty work of planning and implementing and negotiating not just a little bit of politics.

Posted by vbertozzi at June 20, 2007 5:51 PM


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