Crossing generations and genres

First impressions are so important, so how can we prevent making initial judgments when we encounter something new? Unlike our beloved editor, Sedge Clark, I am not a reluctant blogger. Blogging is a staple characteristic within my generation, along with social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. How else am I supposed to keep in touch with my 115 friends from high school, college, and other paths in life? Actual phone calls or e-mails? Don’t make me laugh!

Since I have devoted nearly six years as the Advertising Sales Communications Ambassador (I really like that title-I totally made it up, ha!), I’d like to take this opportunity to dispel some myths about Musical America. As the chief ambassador, it is my job to give out information to prospective clients about our products and services. In this way, I become Professor Pace (not a made up title-I teach community college) and diffuse some unusual stereotypes.

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. If you look at the cover of our annual print directory, each year you will find an instrumentalist, conductor, opera vocalist, or a variety of other industry all-stars who have made it to the top of their game. They vary in age and gender. Most of them fit the “classical” genre, and are well-known for that specialty.

But since we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, open to the first page (of our 2009 edition, for example) and you’ll find an emerging young brass quintet whose french horn player sports a massive blonde afro. All five members are in their late twenties or early thirties, and are prime examples of the classical-crossover younger generation. The Synergy Brass Quintet is not just classical… at all.

So if we aren’t “just” classical, then are we open to “all” genres of music? Last year, I received an advertising inquiry from a young man in California. When I called him to see if he was interested in advertising, he didn’t know what Musical America was, and then asked me if we promoted hip-hop artists. I couldn’t help but reply, “Nnnnnot exactly, no. We are a primarily classical music directory.” He ended the phone call by explaining that he thought our name covered all types of music. Many types, yes. All types, no.

 I can’t tell you how many times people think our name is “Classical Music America.” Another favorite, “Music America” comes in second. If you look in the indices, you can see that there are many other genres (although, perhaps not hip-hop) and categories other than just classical music. And as you flip through the pages, you can find a number of younger artists. So then, what defines classical music? How can we continue to attract younger artists to our product? Do you judge a book by its cover?

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