Giving thanks

Warm and happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone. One of the things I’m thankful for, all year long, is you — all of you who read my blog. Maybe you comment, maybe you don’t, maybe you email me, maybe you don’t. Doesn’t matter! I’m so glad you’re here.

And lately I’ve been grateful for the warm comments I’ve gotten on my last series of posts, about ways to get people caring about classical music (and about your own classical music performances). With two examples from the University of Maryland. 

If you haven’t read these, you might want the PDF file I made from all of them together (with some rewrites that make them tighter). Just email me with “audience” in the subject line to ask for it. And when you do, I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject! Optional, of course. I’ll send you the PDF whether you give me comments or not. 

Many fine things were said in the comments, among them a question from Eric Edberg, about what would happen if people offered free tickets for all the classical music events on his campus (DePauw University). My first thought was that this would dilute the free-ticket impact, and that the Maryland free-ticket offer succeeded in part because — at least for classical concerts on that campus — no one was doing anything like it. 

But i’m not sure that’s right. If the program succeeds — if giving out free tickets for one kind of concerts gets good response — why not build on it? Offer free tickets for more classical concerts, or even for all of them. Maybe, at Maryland, some people don’t want to hear the orchestra, but would jump at the chance to hear chamber music. Or opera. 

Or, most potently, I’d think, a concert that featured the person who’d come up to them at the student union, to promote an event. A solo recital, let’s say. Now, of course I know that at most schools, anyway, student recitals are free. But that doesn’t mean that giving out tickets wouldn’t be helpful. The tickets serve as a reminder, and also they serve as a pledge, in a way — by taking one of them, you’ve promised to come, and the ticket reminds you of that. (See the success John Devlin had with that, in Maryland. I learned all of this from him. Thanks, John!)

So I do think that a free-ticket program wouldn’t lose its effectiveness, just because more concerts were part of it. It’s like the economics principle, which says that if there are two gas stations on a streetcorner, both of them do more business. Each concert serves, in effect, to advertise all the other ones. 

Again — thanks for all the supportive comments. And for reading me. Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

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