New measures to engage young people with classical instruments


We recently read two interesting articles written by iNews. The first reported that children are tuning out of classical instruments, and the second talked about the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recording concerts using Virtual Reality to broaden the appeal of classical music to a younger audience…

iNews have reported that research commissioned by the London concert hall has suggested that just one percent of children in a poll of 1,000 identified the French Horn, English Horn, bassoon or contrabassoon as instruments they either play, or would like to play. This was compared to a third of Children wanting to try their hand at guitar, and 15 percent expressing a desire to play the keyboard.

Lucy Noble, who is the Artistic and Commercial Director of The Royal Albert Hall told iNews that “If more is not done to promote these instruments, we risk seeing them disappear from schools, stages, studios and screen. The future of any instrument is only as strong as the next generations willing to learn it.”

She also criticised the government policy that makes it compulsory for children to take at least one science subject up to GCSE level, while music and other arts disciplines can be dropped by the age of 14. She is of course referencing the EBacc. The MIA has continually supported the campaign fighting the English Baccalaureate – Bacc for the Future.

So what is being done to engage young people with classical music and instruments?

London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has filmed a 360-degree video of a performance, designed to immerse the viewer in the music through the power of virtual reality.

The RPO filmed the performance Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra on Google’s 360-degree Jump camera rig earlier this year.

Filmed from within the centre of the orchestra, a viewer wearing a VR headset is able to turn to focus on the individual instruments being played at any one time, including harps, trumpets, violins and French horns.

The piece was conducted by Venezuelan Rafael Payare, and the footage was directed by John Williams. It is available to view for free on Google’s Arts and Culture website, and can be viewed on desktop as well as via a VR headset.

Have a look here – you can click navigate your way around the video to get the 360 view

The video is the latest of numerous measures the RPO has taken to broaden the appeal of classical music to a younger audience. It has previously recorded VR footage of performances of Sibelius 5 and Beethoven’s Fifth for PlayStation VR and YouTube VR, and 21 million RPO recordings were digitally downloaded last year.