Engaging young people is essential for audience development in contemporary music

Addressing and involving the younger generation is a way to reach the audience of the future.

To educate young people on contemporary music is the epitome of audience development, and it has become a core task for contemporary music ensembles in a time when no one else teaches young people about this art. They do not hear about it at school or on TV, and you can easily live an entire youth without tripping over contemporary music.

That's why contemporary music ensembles involve themselves in educational projects. They invite school classes to rehearsals and concerts, or give concerts at universities where students can talk with composer, conductor and musicians.

But engaging the younger generation is not just a question of education – giving lectures are often not the way to make anybody interested in anything. What’s needed is also for the music to meet the young people where they are.

The youth culture is almost incompatible with the ritualized world that characterize classical music in general, and perhaps what’s needed is to "invent some new and more appropriate, modern rituals", as one of the ensembles in NewAud said. The ensemble chose to work with a focus group of young people from the city to develop a concert form in line with the everyday and preferences of the 20-25 year olds.

NewAud aimed at helping the participating ensembles to collaborate on the issue that all art forms are asking themselves these days: How do we make young people interested in our art – so that we have an audience in the future?