Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Second Life concerts as audience development

The aspect unique to classical music in Second Life is the quality of the audience experience. A podcast or webcast can deliver the same sound quality and serve promotional purposes, but all of these are solitary experiences.

By contrast, concerts in Second Life are joyfully social; audience members are celebratory in their anticipation and appreciation of the music in a way rarely matched in real life concerts. Unique to the medium, listeners silently text appreciative comments, hurrahs, and questions that they hope someone more informed will be able to answer. Sometimes Second Life avatars even decide to dance to the music in the manner of small children at a summer concert at the park.

Conversations quickly reveal that many of those attending classical concerts in Second Life have little or no experience of live classical music. While classical music series in the mainstream arts are having trouble attracting new audiences to conventional concert stages, it is demonstrated that the Internet virtual audience is open to the experience of art music. It seems worth it to step into the virtual world to reach out to this new audience.

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