Classical Music

Survey Results: Musically in Tune

My Musical Arts in Columbus survey was conducted during the first couple of weeks in June.  While I posted the Raw Data the end of last week, I’d now like to break it down and discuss the various questions individually, or at least in pairs!

With only 10 questions, the idea was for it to be quick and easy for those meant to take it.  It was distributed via social media sites and a few Emails to friends, family and my fellow returned Peace Corps volunteers.  What will probably skew the numbers a little bit, it was pushed a bit and posted by several musicians – some of whom are actually in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, about which several questions were asked.  By saying skewed, professional musicians playing in a professional symphony (and their friends) are going to know what classical music is.  They’re also going to know who’s on the podium (i.e. Question 5 which asked who the current musical director was).  The average, every-day person questioned on the street would have been a more ideal audience, but given this was my first survey attempt and I work two jobs, spending time asking people in person was mostly not possible.

That said, I did do pretty well in that regard – by asking people at the arts festival which resulted in 65 of the 177 completed surveys.  Of course, they were all people who stopped at the CAPA / CSO / CATCO booths, so we already knew they had at least a basic interest in the arts.

Those are all good things!

So to get the ball rolling, I started simple and am pleased with the results.  Yes, Columbus – you can recognize Classical Music when you see it!  W.A. Mozart (Classical-era Composer), J.S. Bach (Baroque-era composer) and Sir Neville Marriner (Former Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields – seen on many recordings) all exemplify classical music.  I like that Led Zeppelin got about 5 votes and that my favorite Big Band leaders got at least one.  Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller – you can’t go wrong with those guys.  Fabulous music, for sure!

Question 1: Which grouping of musicians best exemplifies classical music?
W. A. Mozart, J.S. Bach, Sir Neville Marriner 164 92%
Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Pink Floyd 5 3%
Any music by dead people 3 2%
Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington 2 1%
The Beatles, Beach Boys, The Tokens 1 1%
Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller 1 1%

I’ll be honest – I’m happy to count “Any Music by Dead People” as “exemplifying classical music”.  I mean, for the most part, that’s true, right?  No?  OK – maybe not as there are plenty of living composers out there at the moment.

So at least 92% of Columbus recognizes what classical music is.  Well done.  That’s a good start because how often do you go to a concert having no idea what kind of music someone plays? OK fine, so I ended up going to see Pink Martini last Saturday night with the CSO and prior to getting my tickets, I had no idea what kind of music they played.  WOW!  They were incredible!  Think 1930’s Latin Jazz / 1920’s Parisian Night Club – great beats and fabulous musicians – even introduced all the members of the CSO.  THAT never happens!


Visit the Official Pink Martini YouTube channel here.  Listen to a few songs and then start downloading off iTunes.  You’ll thank me later! Seriously – they sang in at least 7 different languages! (/tangent)

In addition to asking about classical music to begin with, I wanted to know how many people had personally been exposed to music by way of playing an instrument.  I’m guessing that people who have played music themselves are more likely to support the arts in one way or another.  I was pleased to see that most everyone had indeed played something.  Respondents were allowed to check up to two answers as possibilities. I, myself, played both the piano and the clarinet: one for playing at home and one for playing at football and basketball games!

I also gave people an “out” of sorts as roughly 8% of respondents have “never played anything beyond spoons or a toy kazoo.”  After all, who hasn’t tapped their silverware on the kitchen table before, much to the chagrin of moms all over America?

In the “Other Option,” folks specific instruments that were covered in other categories, such as Violin or Oboe, which would have been covered under “Strings” or “Woodwinds.”  A few also indicated “Voice” as their instrument.

Question 2: Which of the following musical instruments have you ever played? (Check up to 2)
Piano 81 46%
Woodwind 45 25%
Brass 36 20%
Guitar 34 19%
Strings 32 18%
Percussion 16 9%
I’ve never played anything beyond spoons or a toy kazoo. 15 8%
Other Option 6 3%

This gets us started.  The vast majority of our respondents have been exposed to music enough via school or self-taught educational opportunities to have played instruments themselves and to be able to recognize classical music when they see it.  That, to me, is a very good thing.  What do you think?  Do you think Columbus is musically “in tune”?

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