To “Educate,” Entertain First

Very Young People's Concert

Very Young People’s Concerts 2013-2014: “Strings”

I was reading this article on the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young People’s Concerts. The series arose, apparently, when the younger brothers and sisters of the kids who showed up for the famous Young People’s Concerts got a little rowdy. Rather than giving those kids their first experience getting tossed out of a venue, the NY Phil did something much more wonderful, which was to create a series of concerts designed to entertain 3 to 6-year-olds.

It’s very cool.

What I like about it most is that it’s not positioned as education; it’s positioned as entertainment. The kids aren’t being “fooled” into liking classical music. They’re just enjoying the show. I’m deeply suspicious of attempts to “educate” customers about how to enjoy something. Live entertainment and arts should be compelling enough that as a consumer gets educated, they simply enjoy it more.

But it shouldn’t have to start with education. It should start with an emotional connection and, dare I say the word, fun.


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