Empty seats open experiences
October 13, 2011 1 Comment
However, it is all too often that students ignore these outstanding musical opportunities. Why?
Perhaps it is due to the fact that students are too busy with a demanding course load, or too active in campus clubs and organizations to find free time to walk to Carrick Theater.
Or maybe the issue lies in the concert venue itself. The last place students may want to be in their free time is on the academic side of campus.
Whatever the reason, there is clearly a definite struggle to bring students who are not active in musical studies to the auditorium seats.
“The lack of attendance is a little embarrassing for the performers and the audience,” said sophomore Hannah E. Johnson, a music and English double major. “Even at the big concerts — like Canadian Brass — there were (for the most part) only professors and people from the community in the audience.”
Johnson also noted another cause of the low concert attendance.
“There tends to be a campus-wide apathy,” Johnson said.
So what is the problem? Students may not show up to these concerts because they think they won’t be entertained.
As a music minor, I have been required to sit through my share of performances put on by the musical community at Transy, and even I’ll admit that sometimes I was looking at my phone while I waited for a talented pianist to finish a musical number.
Honestly, I’m not particularly proud of my terrible attention span, and I wish that I could say that I listened to every song intently and with a discerning ear. However, I value having sat through every concert because it is usually music that I don’t get to hear very often at such a professional caliber — live.
Music professor and choral director Dr. Gary Anderson spoke to his thoughts about the many musical performances that Transy offers.
“If you look at student, faculty and guest concerts, … to me, we offer a huge variety of repertoire belonging to so many different genres,” Anderson said.
However, Anderson also understands that to some students the difference between Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach doesn’t seem to be very significant.
So how does the music department encourage students to attend concerts even when they don’t seem to care much about the genre? It reaches out to students with the general education requirement of Music Appreciation, in hopes that it changes at least a few opinions.
But what to do about all the other students who choose to take another fine arts credit?
“I’m not sure how to fix it,” said sophomore Megan Johnson, a music minor. “No one I hang out with would like to go to a concert at Transy with me.”
The musical faculty certainly knows that boosting attendance is a goal to work toward.
“Perhaps we should work on more effective advertising strategies to students,” said Anderson.
Whatever the solution may be, at the very least I hope that concert attendance remains steadfast in the audience it maintains.
As a member of the Transylvania Choir, the last thing I want to see are fewer numbers at our choir concerts, and therefore fewer people to share music with.