It is a material world or are there any other values that count higher than having a high income, a big saving account, a nice house, a prestigious car, the newest mobile phone or spending holidays in comfortable hotels?
Well, it is nice to have all this. But we also know that the efforts to afford all this are enormous. Haven’t we reached a point at which we say that it could be good for us if we focus less on the material values and more on immaterial ones? Which role is music playing in this process?
My vision is that there are four main values that are getting more important for many people.
1. Nature: Living in a healthy environment is getting important even for people in emerging countries. Pollution and feeling happy does not fit together. Nature in good order is an important factor for happiness. The large increase of classical festivals in an unusual environment, like the Verbier Festival or the Bregenzer Festspiele, shows that classical music and outstanding nature inspire each other and produce positive emotions.
2. Health: Pressure at work is getting higher and there are more and more overstressed people. But we have only one life. Steve Jobs said in his motivation speech for students: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. I think we should add one more point: “Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay healthy”. Music helps to calm us down, to relax and to get inspired.
3. Social values: In an extremely individual society, the social responsibility is getting lost. Everybody thinks of his/her own profit. People start to feel that they can be happier if they care for their friendships and make sure that people around them are not in a dire need. One important reason to go out with friends has always been listening to music or making music together.
4. Culture: It has become extreme that almost all our activities at the back of our mind concentrate on to how to earn money with it. People discover more and more that thinking about beauty and getting inspired by unexpected and unusual performances of artists can create more wellbeing than earning money. They are in search of inspiring music, literature, theatre, dance performances.
If the assumptions about new values are right, there will be a following trend:
Classical music will be played more often in unusual locations, especially where it also gets inspired by nature. People see classical music more as a relaxation activity and consume it therefore in a relaxed environment and less in rigid and conservative concert halls. They like to hear classical music together with friends and appreciate the feeling of being close to the artists. In addition, they do not want to have a 100 % classical concert but prefer to have it mixed with other cultural activities.
Therefore my prognosis: The future of classical music is small, more intimate, event driven concert performances together with artists from other fields outside of the conventional concert environment organized and financed by private people.