Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Publication Date

Fall 12-6-2017

Faculty Advisor(s)

Jessica Sternfeld


With rapid advances in modern technology and the lack of funding in musical education across the United States, it has been widely accepted that traditional Western classical music is dying. Evidence of shifting preferences in musical genres amongst younger generations and a widening divide between “art” and “pop” music prove classical music’s growing irrelevance in this modern age. To justify this growing issue, Milton Babbit’s article, Who Cares If You Listen? encouraged the alienation of modern audiences from contemporary composers, believing a-tonal music to be made by “specialists” for “specialists”. Others, like the audience agency in London, who published the National Classical Music Audiences, analyze consumer preferences through financial and statistical evidence. As these two examples show, many have examined the decline in popularity through either the lens of sociological issues or that of marketing, yet there has been little research that justifies sociological assumptions through a business perspective. In order to administer effective solutions to the growing concern of classical music longevity this paper aims to do away with the stereotype of the “uneducated masses”. The author believes that it is not the audience that is the problem, but the slow progression of the seller (i.e. musician and composer) to be innovative in creating a valuable service to a diverse market. Rather than turning a blind eye to technological advances and stubbornly preferring to remain “traditional”, it would behoove the orchestra to create an accessible environment through web streaming, adding business-oriented board members, and redefining the overall experience of concert going.


Presented at the Fall 2017 Student Research Day at Chapman University.

Download from off-campus (Chapman ID required)