One of the mantras I find over and over on the web is Get Music Out Of The Stuffy Concert Halls And Into Alternative Venues.

I understand where this sentiment is coming from, but I have a contra-indicative anecdote.

One of my grad students did his undergraduate work at a school that focuses on preparing students for success in the commercial field. He attended a concert here in our Watson Hall for the first time last week. He was blown away by the experience of sitting in a venue in which hundreds of people were focused entirely on the music. After playing jazz and rock in clubs, bars, etc., he had become used to hearing the end of everything he played merge into the ambient noise of the setting. Sometimes the audience noise was a little more than ambient, and the music was drowned out entirely.

At the concert here, he was completely floored to see all of these people sitting in stunned silence at the conclusion of a piece, followed by enthusiastic ovations. It was his first experience with a Classical concert audience, and he was hooked.

We have to keep in mind that concert halls are built for the enjoyment of music, as opposed to other venues with other priorities. There is something to be said for an environment that supports listening to music in all of its detail and all of its glory.

And is it just me, or has anyone else ever been to a club that was stuffy and pretentious?

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