Monday, 19 July 2010

The Proms 2010 - I would love to hear from you!

So the 2010 Proms season is now under way, and what a flying start! A blockbuster weekend if ever there was. If you caught any of it, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! (Although, was anybody else a little disconcerted when Placido Domingo didn't get up at the end of Simon Boccanegra?! I was at the back of the Arena, and all I had to go on was the expression on Antonio Pappano's face. To me he looked genuinely fearful that Domingo had really collapsed. An old joke! And a happy ending to the evening. But a few moments of flutter for me at least!)

It was absolutely wonderful to speak to so many concert goers during the 2009 season. Whether just for a chat in the hall, or for a more extended conversation next door at the Imperial College bar, I can't say enough thank yous to all those who took the time to tell me about their varied musical interests and experiences. So thank you, and thank you again!

For those of you I have only recently met, I would be so grateful if you would be happy to particpate in my study of concert audiences.

Please do give me a call on 07761246988, or send me an email at !

It would so great to hear from you.

Although this blog is mainly intended as a place on the web to which I can refer people if they want to know a bit more about my PhD, and how to contact me, it would also be great to make more use of the blog as a place where people can write a few thoughts of their own about their concert experiences. Or just as a place to put down anything you would like to about the 2010 Proms!

So if you feel like chipping in, with however short or long a post, please do add something of your own to this blog! It would be really great to hear as much about your thoughts and experiences of concert going as you would like to share.

Thanks so much for your interest and your help, and I look forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The project begins: please join in!

Thanks ever so much for visiting this blog. I have set it up to accompany my PhD research, in which I am investigating the position of concert halls within contemporary British culture. I hope as many people as possible will contribute, as the blog is primarily intended as a means to gather other people's accounts of their musical experiences and their attitudes to concert hall practice. I hope it may also become an interactive forum through which to exchange ideas about how modern concerts work, and what they are for. So please do make postings - I want to hear from you!

To state my research question at its most bold (and provocative): ‘What is the point of the concert hall in the 21st century?’. In order to answer this question, I want to know: what kinds of experiences do audience members have at concerts? how do different listeners pay attention to music - how does this change over the course of an evening, and over the course of a listener's lifetime? how do different concert goers talk about music? how do they behave at concerts? and do they have particular expectations of what concerts are, or should be?

But I also want to know why audiences come to concerts at all: what is it about concerts that attracts some people and repels others? And how does concert-going relate to audiences’ lives outside of the concert hall? in what ways do they listen to music at home? do they listen to music on an iPod, and do they listen to different kinds of music whilst travelling as opposed to what they listen to at concerts, and in the home? what do they do for a living? how old are they? what kind of musical education have they had? and how do they spend their other leisure time? - - - And what do all these things indicate about the position of the concert hall within 21st century life?

The main aim of this blog is to provide a place for people to contribute their experiences of attending concerts, and their thoughts about concert hall culture. I will make my own postings to float ideas and to report how the project is developing. I would be delighted for people to respond to my postings. But much more importantly, I would like you to post your own descriptions of how music features in your life, your memories of concerts, any thoughts you might have about why you go to concerts (or perhaps why you don’t!), or anything else you might like to contribute.

My fieldwork will focus on audiences at the BBC Proms (which begin in two days time!), but I heartily welcome anybody to post on this blog, whoever you may be! - even if you won’t be making it to the Albert Hall this summer, and even if you are violently opposed to concert hall culture!

Finally, if you would be happy to talk more about your musical interests and experiences, I am looking for people to participate in informal interviews (lasting no more than an hour) in which I would ask you more about how music features in your life. I would also like to recruit a number of concert goers to keep a kind of ‘musical diary’ in which to develop an account their musical lives. If you would be interested in participating in any way, (or if you’d simply like to know more about the project) please contact me at or on 07761246988. Your participation would be invaluable!

Please do get in touch, or just post away!

Many thanks,