Musicians nowadays must develop a varied skill set. Their musical skills such as the ability to interpret, improvise, and create music as well as a wide knowledge about musical culture in general, are naturally the most obvious skills they must possess. However, their professional life will require them to do much more than simply perform in concert halls, clubs and typical cultural venues for a pre-sensitized audience. Art and culture are an intrinsic part of social life and music is possibly the most universally shared of all forms of art as it transcends languages and cultures. For musicians and cultural institutions, it is important to make this aesthetic and human experience available to the widest audience possible. This can be achieved in many ways, such as by helping audiences discover different musical repertoires, by teaching them how to listen and understand the piece, by helping them to begin playing an instrument, or by meeting an audience during an outreach action. All these different elements are part of a musician’s professional activity.
What are outreach actions? Who are outreach actions for?
As a musician, you are already the medium through which a musical piece can be understood. Without your interpretation, the music would not exist as it must be played to be understood, but we must also have the material possibility and desire to understand it! Understanding and being receptive to art and culture is not always an instantaneous process and in order to develop an interest in something, we need to understand it first.
In recent years, actors in the field of culture have become aware of the importance of this topic and have made different tools available with the aim of widening, sensitizing and diversifying audiences. It is an ethical, economical and civic responsibility. If the audiences present in concert halls dwindle, artists will no longer be able to continue to develop and work in this field.
This need to develop awareness has become an integral part of what it is to be an artist nowadays. An artist must take responsibility for developing their professional activity, managing their career and understanding the challenges that exist in the field they wish to work in. For this reason, an artist must ask themselves who will attend their concerts, follow and support their profession?
To take this even further, an artist should strive to associate their professional role to their civic duty to contribute to society and help others develop by sharing their art, personality and knowledge of the world of music.
Who are outreach actions for?
While the term cultural and artistic mediation may be generic, the different ways of carrying out an outreach action are extremely varied. They are created with the target audience specifically in mind and take into account elements such as local situations and contexts, desired outcomes and available resources. Whatever the method chosen, a musician’s implication in the project will always add value to the experience.
Children and young people. The discovery and collective practice of music brings with it many benefits aside from the simple pleasure of playing it. It also helps people develop listening skills, a better understanding of others, self-confidence, and improved learning, concentration, and creative capabilities. It also plays a central role in helping people develop a sense of belonging to a group that strives to create a musical piece together. Being exposed to music from a young age is one of the elements that determine whether people will be interested in the world of art and culture as adults.
Vulnerable or marginalized people. Opening the world of art and culture to a wider audience is a civic objective and one of the challenges of democracy, as music allows for self-actualization, self-development and personal freedom. Outreach actions can be created for people who have been excluded or isolated in society because of psychological, social, or physical disabilities. Listening to music creates a powerful emotional response in people and music also enables people from different social and cultural spheres to socialize together through collective projects. It provides the basis for powerful experiences that people from all walks of life can relate to. Taking part in an artistic activity is one of the best ways to express your uniqueness while being part of a group that supports and accepts you.
For one and for all. Artistic talent can be shared beyond concert halls. For music lovers who want to understand and discover more about art and culture, meeting musicians, hearing them talk about their creations, their artistic practice, and their interpretations of musical pieces is part of the enjoyment. An audience can appreciate musical works even more if the artists provide them with a participative experience, whether by explaining to the audience or by getting them to take part. Apart from a simple intellectual knowledge of the piece, artists can also add to the audience’s experience by interacting with them or organizing practical workshops to involve the audience and make them feel more connected to the experience.