Classical guitar; audience?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
2handband
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by 2handband » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:33 pm

I play a handful of short pieces during my tuesday evening acoustic gig (which is mostly just popular music). Either 4-5 short pieces or one larger work. Some people perk up and pay attention, but most of them consider it prime time to go and take a dump.

Classical music in general is dying, methinks.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:39 pm

I do not think that it is any different for any solo classical musician or even a small chamber ensemble. I go to many such classical music concerts, and there are always just a few dozen (if that) people in the audience (maybe a couple hundred if it is a "famous" person/ensemble). Pop and rock (and country, etc), is enjoyed by the "masses" and so those concerts will have large audiences. That's just the way it is for classical music, not just guitar. I do not think that classical musicians should change to accommodate the tastes (or lack thereof) of the masses.

2handband
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by 2handband » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:49 pm

Lovemyguitar wrote:I do not think that it is any different for any solo classical musician or even a small chamber ensemble. I go to many such classical music concerts, and there are always just a few dozen (if that) people in the audience (maybe a couple hundred if it is a "famous" person/ensemble). Pop and rock (and country, etc), is enjoyed by the "masses" and so those concerts will have large audiences. That's just the way it is for classical music, not just guitar. I do not think that classical musicians should change to accommodate the tastes (or lack thereof) of the masses.
This. I'm 43 and have been a professional musician since I was 25. That's damn near two decades of playing what other people wanted to hear... the CG is for me and me alone. Don't like my repertoire? None of the suggestions that come to my mind are repeatable here.

I hear a lot of people suggesting that you draw the audience in with CG arrangements of pop tunes (I just saw a guy do that in concert last week actually)... nope, not doing it. Transcriptions of Bach/Mozart/Beethoven because lots of people recognize the tunes? Not doing that either; there's more great music written for CG than anyone can encompass in five lifetimes so why is so much energy expended on transcriptions at the expense of our native repertoire? Uh uh... this is for me. Don't like it, don't listen.

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:23 pm

Classical guitar audiences are not small - they are "intimate." My paid gigs, which are few and far between, generally have intimate audiences of highly educated, sober people. I do more volunteer performances for much bigger crowds, that are completely mixed, but whom simply appreciate good compositions that are well executed. In fact, the volunteer audiences are usually more appreciative!

If you look around, I'll bet you can find all manner of volunteer venues with very appreciative audiences. I always tell them, "You definitely got your money's worth!" I just relax and have fun!
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powderedtoastman
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by powderedtoastman » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:36 pm

chelson wrote:Whenever I took out my guitar and played, my wife and children would shut the door and commented that it was noisy to the family and the neighborhood despite how soft I was playing.
This may be loosely related to why I don't have a wife anymore :oops:

2handband
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by 2handband » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:08 am

powderedtoastman wrote:
chelson wrote:Whenever I took out my guitar and played, my wife and children would shut the door and commented that it was noisy to the family and the neighborhood despite how soft I was playing.
This may be loosely related to why I don't have a wife anymore :oops:
Or it could be because marriage is horrible...

Grooveman JS
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:13 am

To today's Classical musicians; i say enlarge your scope, your repertoire....try crossing to Jazz, Latin; play some standards & of course; the pop evergreens; do it in a Classical Guitar context solo or chamber/small ensemble. Although I'm not formally trained in Classical Guitar (my background is in contemporary music which basically is a Jazz based music education & guitar program), I work with some Classical people so over time I got interested in CG, I hired a music professor that headed a Classical Guitar program in a University to coach me with the right techniques (particularly the right hand skill set)....over time; I've established a repertoire. i realise that Classical people have generally good technique, sight reading skills & after exposing them to some contemporary stuff with arrangements that are basically a crossover between Classical & Contemporary.....they really dig it & are quick to latch on to it.... feel like they missed out on something that's out there. Today we've projects that are mixed with Classical as well as Contemporary repertoire & its working out well.....we find that more people are relating to our music, you'll probably garner more interest this way.
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Steve Ganz
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Steve Ganz » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:19 pm

georgemarousi wrote:Hello to all !

...
I would like to hear your thoughts about it. Do you also think we are very limited / would you like that to change? If no, why? / if yes, how?

Regards,
George
George, If you think you are an outcast for liking classical guitar, you may be. If you feel uncomfortable in small groups, craving loud music and large raucous crowds, there are easy answers.
For me, I need room sized music, quiet and thoughtful audience, beautiful compositions that evoke mysterious emotional reactions. There are many who feel the same. Because the crowds are small, I can relate to those individuals in ways that would be impossible with more popular music. If you love something, embrace it rather than deny it.
Steve

BellyDoc
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by BellyDoc » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:00 pm

As I write, I'm waiting to board a flight to Seattle from Phoenix. My wife and I are doing a weekend getaway she planned for me as a Hanukkah gift. We're seeing some old friends, and the center point activity of the weekend is a Michael Partington classical guitar performance tomorrow night.

I've been playing for 16 months. Like everything I do, I'm in it 110%. It's opened up my mind to possibilities that weren't part of my awareness a year and a half ago. The most important thing that I've learned so far is what it feels like to express through this instrument and because I've felt it, I can empathize with musical expression in a way that I was previously unequiped to do. I can't tell you how I'll feel in 5 years but right now I find this art form powerful and compelling. I can't get enough.

My experience with music performance is completely dominated by my own relationship with music exploration. I have no way to speak for my wife, who appears to enjoy it, or to predict what my friends will feel when they join us. I wish I could share what it's like for me, but it's not fully verbalizable.

Personally, I have no problem with small or intimate audiences at these events. When I'm experiencing the music lifting me out of my physical body, I might as well be alone.
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Steve Ganz
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Steve Ganz » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:12 am

BellyDoc,
I hope you liked Seattle. I love your explanation of involvement with our instrument and music.
Steve

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eno
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by eno » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:45 pm

Mysteriously the CG is kind of an instrumnent that is much more enjoyable to play than to listen. Even when I listen to someone else playing CG it is in a way similar to playing it myself, I feel very involved as if it's me playing as opposed to listening to another instrument where I'm usually just a passive listener. I think that explains the smaller audience limited to mostly CG players.
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dtoh
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by dtoh » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:21 am

Other than piano what is the audience for any solo instrumental performance to say nothing of any solo classical instrumental performance?

If you want a bigger audience sing or play electric guitar in a pop band.

PeteJ
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by PeteJ » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:36 am

chelson - You have my sympathies. Very demotivating.

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georgemarousi
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by georgemarousi » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:32 pm

Very interesting answers you all guys, read through again and again ! :)

Let me just note again that I really l-o-v-e Classical guitar ( and it's repertoire of course ) as I stated from the beginning, and I understand you all love it too.

It's also true that some people do admire it too ( or at least they would admire it if they had the chance to hear it at sometime ) - and also that some people might ignore or run away - my sister and niece do so sometimes - or at some cg pieces ! This is also something I accept.

What my question is really about, has to do with my feel that Classical guitar seems to luck wider publicity and general acceptance, and seems to remain inside a close circle that mainly consists of ..classical guitar players! hmmm.. Though I dot find this a problem or a stopper of course, I somehow believe that this cycle shoud/could open up, so that more will be able to feel this magic :) - maybe I'm wrong of course!

Steve lu for instance, has a nice idea "... to play for the opening of other gigs in other styles, folk or rock for example, since classical guitar is pretty versatile, this could be a way to reach a wider audience."

Personally, I would consider a good idea to transcribe some known quality songs, solo or/and as a duet with a singer for example, and present it in a program that could include a selection of classical pieces too! Hmm, I would like to try that in the future ! :) - for now i'm totally in cg pieces - no time for other staff..

I believe that these considerations are very important for CG, and maybe a look out of the "box" of the current status-quo could really worth it ! :)

Any other Ideas / thoughs / considerations are very welcome ! :)

Best Regards to all,
George
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muirtan
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by muirtan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:03 pm

@George At the moment my guitar group are planning some concerts, a new direction for us. In the past we have played a couple of concerts to raise money for the church whose meeting room we use for our meetings. Now we're reaching out to other groups. Our first planned concert is to raise money for a local charity. Hopefully people will come to the concert to support the charity and maybe we can convert some more people to CG The charity has been very helpful re ideas for publicity and offering help. The concert isn't until June so we'll have to wait and see if it works but if we get more than 30 in the audience it will be an improvement on past audiences.

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