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Classic Expression: the effect of storytelling in a classical concert for children

The traditional way of classical concerts – i.e. a concert of 1,5 hour, no moving or making sounds, no interaction – is not the way to attract children to classical music. There are different inviting ways to interest children in a classical performance, for example with interaction, participation or storytelling. In this research we investigate if storytelling has an effect on children’s enthusiasm for classical music and their likeability of playing an instrument themselves. Furthermore, we assess if there is a relation between musical interest, engagement and/or emotional intensity during the concert. We do this by comparing a story-condition with a technical information-condition, in which the presenter talks about the instruments or the performance location. It is executed in the Classic Express, a concert truck in which laureates of the Prinses Christina Concours, a Dutch competition for young musicians, perform and present classical music for primary school classes. Children answer questions before, directly after and one week after the concert about how much they like the music, if they want to experience it again and if they are interested in playing a musical instrument themselves. The results can support musicians wanting to give engaging performances to children, improve the quality of concerts for this target audience and raise likeability of classical music in young generations.

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