Host: Elliott Grabill (@ElliottVGrabill)

In the midst of mourning the shrinking number of classical music listeners, often times we forget that genres like baroque music differ as much with new music as country music differs from rap. While many of us promote new music by appealing to lovers of traditional classical music, this #musochat will discuss strategies of inviting all types of listeners into the mix.



Q2: What are most successful methods you’ve seen that have attracted people to new music?

  • Doing it on accident. Pairing it with non-new or non-music things. Making it seem like the cool thing to like. (Chrysanthe Tan)
  • Invite a friend to a concert or put some new music on in the car. Music is social. (Gordon Williams)
  • Inclusion in some other media, like in a film/game OST; Collaborations that meld of two fan bases into one. (ianring)
  • inviting peeps to hear music on SoundCloud or YouTube. They can first experience from the comfort of their own home. (Ross Crean)
  • Hooch. No joke: relax the atmosphere, mood, make it less sacerdotal. (Ed Windels)
  • Storyline (Anna Brake)
  • Presenting new music alongside older music. Showing people that it’s not so terrible different! (Rapido! Contest)
  • Relevant subject matter to current events and social climate (ex As One, Three Way) can attract new listeners. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Hard question. I like strange locations, beer, technical allure. And constant reminders. And accessibility. (Adam Schumaker)
  • I find Soundcloud and YouTube to be good outets. I was wondering if there were others. (Anthony Sanchez)
  • Marketing with the understanding “there is no general public.” (Megan Ihnen)
  • I once did a “Speed Dating” exercise to demo some bits to show an audience why I fell in love with a piece. (Shana Norton)
  • I feel unqualified to answer this. I still believe in peer networking and finding ways to attract the like minded. (Adam Schumaker)
  • Hands down, presenting it for young audiences. Never had kids not get into it. (Shana Norton)
  • Present Music in Milwaukee tries to connect with the community. Incorporates pop music sometimes on their programs. (Jason Ladd)
  • Invitations from friends to see them in / go with them to a performance. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Explanation, invitation, contextualization. Not just presentation. (Nick Star)
  • Education, education, education (Arthur Breur)

Q3: What are the most unique / outside of the box ways you’ve seen that have attracted people to new music?

  • Where audiences can experience the music in a very different way, instead of sitting in the audience. (Jolene Masone)
  • @LoftOpera nails it: excellent performers in a visceral, relaxed setting (Ed Windels)
  • Relevant subject matter to current events and social climate (ex As One, Three Way) can attract new listeners. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Interactive performances. Check out @inmediasarts “Trending” project. Also, new ways to approach playing instruments. (Ross Crean)
  • A music festival in Minnesota used soup cans to advertise because canning company was in the town. Performed at plants during lunch. (Jason Ladd)
  • A self-produced web show – like this one: (ianring)
  • Seen it all; email, posters, contests to win a free CD. Etc. (Edwin Garcia)

Q4: What prevents people from wanting to see / hear new music?

  • The sheer amount music. We all have catalogs and catalogs of music to choose from. (Gordon Williams)
  • Why pay to hear new music when u could hear something u know u like? Ppl want to know they’ll have a good time. (Susan Summers)
  • Making music is way more fun when I don’t have any anxieties about paying bills. My art may be about art then. (Miranda George)
  • Fear of something unrecognizable, fear of discomfort, fear of looking newbie. (Chrysanthe Tan)
  • Assumptions of what is and having never attended a concert before. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D.)
  • Usually fear / unfamiliarity or Netflix and chill… (Megan Ihnen)
  • Honestly, not fear but inertia. Same reason every exit on the Interstate has the same chains. (Wes Flinn)
  • Maybe some laziness, assumptions, not part of routine. (Anna Brake)
  • Fear. Afraid they won’t understand it and/or won’t like it. Saturation of the music scene in general. Seeing only what they know they like. Not trying new things. (Rapido! Contest)
  • concerts at inconvenient times / places. babysitting. high ticket prices. apathy. fatigue. netflix. (ianring)
  • The desire to hear what is familiar and known— the old list of favorites. (Arthur Breur)
  • Thinking they won’t “get” it or enjoy it. Not feeling interested in the synopsis. (Courtney Ruckman)

Q5: What are some of the best (or most interesting) venues you’ve seen new music performed?

  • I gave a performance in a planetarium complete with star projections… my ASTRAL PROJECTIONS, bass and mezzo voices, percussion, French horn, synthesizer, orig. videos and stars proj. on the dome. (Michael Kallstrom)
  • Abandoned churches, forests, cisterns, coat closets, mansions, art galleries, bars, backyard gazebos… (Megan Ihnen)
  • (Nick Starr)
  • Living rooms. Conventional places are often fine too. I don’t like trend of new music being performed in super uncomfy places. (Chrysanthe Tan)
  • @ConstellationCh One of the best music venues in Chicago. (Edwin Garcia)
  • I once saw a free concert on the Champs Elysees with 2 million other people. (ianring)

  • House concerts. Relaxed, informal, up close. Make it less us vs. them. Also #bargemusic. (Ed Windels)
  • Turner Ballroom and back room of Sugar Maple bar in MKE. Dance club in Chicago with Mason Bates serving as DJ between Liget, Kline, etc. (Jason S. Ladd)
  • Atlas Theatre in DC. Black box, drinks/snacks allowed in performance. @LoftOpera venue for Rape of Lucretia. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • I think the best venues are small venues where the artists and composers can talk directly to the audience. (Arthur Breur)
  • Others: Waterworks in Boston. Pipes, gears, catwalks and Tim Feeney with his robot floor toms

Q6: If you could go to any #newmusic concert, what would it look like? What performers, composers, pieces, venues, etc.? Why?

  • Any public @kronosquartet, @eighthblackbird, @NOWEnsemble performance: touring music written for them for people who love them. Also throw in N @roomfulofteeth and many more new music ensembles who release albums. (Sam Melnick)
  • Emotionally aggressive, moving, inspiring. I love seeing unconventional instruments or combos of instruments. Waterphone! (Ross Crean)
  • I would like to experience Jón Leifs “Dettifoss,” Op. 57, performed @ Icelandic waterfall that inspired it. (ianring)
  • Lots of equipment. New sounding groups/set ups. No traditional seating if possible. Receptions and food and drink. Ha ha. (Adam Schumaker)
  • House concert with a bunch of performers and composers I don’t know yet with a variety of pieces cause I like discovery. (Anna Brake)
  • World class musicians. Audience seated close & in the round. Time for audience mingling. Variety of diverse composers. (Rabido! Contest)
  • Steve Reich with a recliner. Music for 18 musicians is long so want to be comfortable. Chamber in coffee house. Brass outside. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D)
  • How about a New Ragtime Composers Concert! That would be pretty darned awesome. (Arthur Breur)
  • Very into contemporary opera right now. Try to see as many premieres as I can. (Courtney Ruckman)

Q7: What adjectives describe people who like #newmusic?

  • Creative, open-minded, collaborative, always learning, never complacent (in a good way), encouraging, supportive! (Ross Crean)
  • Charming, intelligent, courageous, handsome, honest, talented, charismatic, and too sexy for my shirt. (ianring)
  • Weird. (Adam Schumaker)
  • Adventurous, curious. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • However you’d describe @ICEfanseArleneLD; that would be it. (Shana Norton)
  • Open minded, exciting, nonconformist, adventurous. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D.)
  • Sonically-curious, inquisitive, attentive, enthusiastic intelligent, patient, contemplative, busy. (Megan Ihnen)
  • Intelligent. Bright. Clever. Good looking. Sexy… (Arthur Breur)
  • #musochat

Q8: What do you think millennials like the most about new music?

  • They like to meet and work with the composers! (Olivia Kieffer)
  • I would think the same things everyone else likes about it; the chance to hear something new, the adventure of it all. (Wes Flinn)
  • I think it is the idea that they can discover new territories of the sonic (and sometimes visual) variety beyond iTunes. (Ross Crean)
  • I have no clue. Aren’t millennials sort of like normal people, but with knitted hats? (ianring)
  • Strangely enough I think ironically trending concepts/ideas associated with the concert. (Adam Schumaker)
  • Relatable topic, casual atmosphere, music feels fresh. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • I think if millennials knew the “why” behind a piece they would connect with it. Sell it to them as music of our time. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D.)
  • Everyone is different. (Megan Ihnen)
  • That it’s not OLD music. (Arthur Breur)
  • This middle-aged matron is all ears! (Shana Norton)

Q9: What would you do (or, what do you do) to get more people to come to concerts featuring your own work /performance?

  • Personally reach out, create marketing plan (not post randomly), inside groups with interest in subject matter. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Advertise that there may be gratuitous nudity? (Ianring)
  • Hire a huge children’s choir? Then you know all the parents and grandparents will be there. (Ianring)
  • I talk incessantly about it, from conception to performance. People like the journey and want to see it to the end. (Ross Crean)
  • Make a point to encourage creativity and comfort during the show. (Chrysanthe Tan)
  • First would be my students and engage them to promote to their friends. Word of mouth is best. Some social media. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D.)
  • Create marketing appeal and invite people personally. And create more appeal. Collaborate more too. (Adam Schumaker)
  • Get specific about different audiences that may be interested, create solid psychographic profiles, then market appropriately. (Megan Ihnen)
  • Others: I play music I believe in. New MusicTM is just part of it. Maybe w/more remarks, but never apologetically.

Q10: Do you have any other comments or ideas on ways we can expand the number of listeners?

  • THE CHILDREN! Let them listen and ask them for their opinions! They’ll teach you a lot about new music. (Sam Melnick)
  • Create work that sets your soul on fire and actively seek the people who need it as much as you do. (Megan Ihnen)
  • If we follow our instincts as creatives, those who will relate will appreciate our work. Communicate your purpose. (Ross Crean)
  • Connect with students, connect with community, find new venues and places with new listeners. (Jason S. Ladd, Ph.D.)
  • Follow up, thank people for attending, get their feedback about the event. Be on top of social media during event. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Collaborative marketing with other composers, ensembles, etc. (Rapido! Contest)
  • I like to tweet before, at intermission, and after (as a patron). If we’re on SM, orgs should be, too. (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Thinking specifically of a recital I did of 20th/21st century music – audience was not a new music crowd, so I talked before each piece about influences, what to listen for, etc. Lots of people said they never thought they’d like this kind of music, never understood it until now, etc. In short – have to meet audience where they are. (Nick Starr)
  • I’m very early in the process of getting (a) opera scenes staged throughout our rural county (b) my quartet at a factory. (Wes Flinn)
  • Food/drink/comfort are recurring themes. Makes sense; if you’re all comfy, it’s easier to take a risk. (Shana Norton)
  • When composers write music for themselves and don’t consider their audience. (Anthony Sanchez)
  • Exclusivity and. Dare I say it, elitism. That’s what happened with Total Serialism and Darmstadt. (Anthony Sanchez)
  • With the music I write, specifically, my electronic pieces, I find it hard to locate listeners for that. (Anthony Sanchez)
  • Peer networking is important! (Courtney Ruckman)
  • Others:
    • For the record, I’m listening to Penderecki at his most alienating during my lunch break
    • Complete agree with social relevance. It’s been important in bmore, especially
    • Food/drink/comfort are recurring themes. Makes sense; if you’re all comfy, it’s easier to take a risk.
    • I went to a concert tat served free samosas during intermission, and I was like this is the best. concert. ever.
    • Psychographic profiles! Have you been hanging out with @EricSnoza & @melissasnoza?
    • When composers write music for themselves and don’t consider their audience.
    • 50-70s alienated audiences with music that was out of touch. Hasn’t won audience back.
    • That “composer” is not an occupation exclusive to people who have been dead for years.

Got a topic you’d love to chat about? Sign up to host #musochat!