It's not even a real title: although that's exactly what I've done in the last month. If I'm lucky, I'll be starting a nicely-funded series of new music in Derby, with a primary aim of attracting families1, focussed on listening and appreciation. If not, it'll be a less-nicely-funded short series of new music in Derby, with a primary aim of attracting families, focussed on listening and appreciation.
So, why am I planning to do this anyway? It isn't that I've got too much money this year: that's never the reason I do anything. My general foolhardiness is legendary, and also a given. But there are other reasons:
Adults with children like listening to music too, and there is no real reason that they should not be allowed to listen to music together. I have many lasting images of parents/guardians who have brought children to concerts, and seeing that interaction: it is very powerful. But perhaps "the concert" is not always quite set up to allow this to happen as often as it should.
I think that the first skill any musician needs to learn, before learning how to read music; play the instrument; or any of that; is how to listen to music. Listening is the first thing. This is anecdotal, but I think we are in a situation now where young people are (made to) play music in a style they don't necessarily listen to at home for pleasure. I guess it's not wrong with that: it's never a linear path. But if the opportunity to enable young people to listen to live music is there, why wouldn't you try to make it happen?
Audiences age [well, we all do], and for a music to be sustained in live performance, they need "topping up" with younger people. This doesn't mean the music has to change: it means that the access to the music has to open up. I realise this sounds harsh, but gentler methods of expressing this [to me] quite simple idea never seem to work.
With all this, I don't want to alienate people without children. That would be stupid, as I have no children myself. And, as this infographic shows, I'm not alone.
So, it's a matter of trying to create something that everyone feels "okay" with attending, but perhaps making it a bit easier for those with children as well. I think it's important. And so: I am going to try, and try very hard, to make this work. This is an idea that I've had for three-and-a-bit years now, and it's time. Cross all the fingers and toes!
here, I'm using the families as a catch-all word for adults with children. ↩