That’s the course I’m teaching at Juilliard this semester, as I have every spring since 1997. Which means I’ve been teaching this course — about the future of classical music — for 17 years. Which of course also means that there’s been concern about the future of for 17 years. I gave a talk at Juilliard in 1996 as part of their Doctoral Forum, about classical music’s future, and that lead to an invitation to teach the course.
(I’m giving another Doctoral Forum talk next month, about the classical music audience, past and present. But later for that. I’d be happy to give it elsewhere. If anyone’s interested, contact me for details.)
Back to the course. The course overview and schedule of classes and assignments are both online, so anyone can read them. And read, listen to, and watch all the reading, listening, and video assignments (except for a few I haven’t put online yet).
What do I teach in this course? First about the crisis — what classical music was like in the US before the crisis hit, and what the dimensions of the crisis are. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know what I say on those subjects. I’ll be using some of my posts, like the one about classical music before the crisis, and the crisis timeline.
And then things about the gap between classical music and the rest of our culture, about the value of classical music, about classical music in the past (more flexible performances, improvisation by classical musicians, and a more responsive audience). And about what pop music is, and whether it, too, can be art.
And then about fixing the crisis, with an emphasis on what students can do as music entrepreneurs. Ending with an exercise in branding, so students can begin to flesh out ways to get a new audience interested in hearing them perform.
Doing that is certainly something the students think about. At the first class in any course I teach, I always ask the students why they’re taking the course. I’ve asked them if I can share their answers here, and I hope they’ll let me. But what we’ve got are people who take it for granted, with no prompting from me, that the classical audience is notably shrinking. And that they need to do something to bring it back.
More on the course as it continues. Do read the online material — especially the class schedule — if you’re interested. And if there’s enough interest, I can teach a version of the course online and in conference calls. I’d do it in three sessions, for a reasonable fee. If you’d like to join me in that, send an email!