During 2019 the European Union Youth Orchestra has been running a year long project, The Listening Project, about the crucial importance of listening for musicians, audiences, and indeed the whole of society.
The first part of the project explored how orchestral musicians listen, and how they can hone their listening skills, with suggestions and guidance from conductors, soloists, tutors, music experts and alumni of the Orchestra.
In the second part of the project we posed a question to our audiences: how do you listen? The aim was to both understand our audiences better, and to help our young musicians develop their performance skills through listening more to their audiences.
In the process we hope to help hone the listening skills of Europe’s young musicians, whilst also shedding light on how in a challenging moment for Europe we can all improve by developing and expanding our listening.
Welcome to The Listening Project.
1. Part I: How players listen?
The first part of the Listening Project was launched during our spring residency in Ferrara. As the year progressed we populated a Listening Project archive with contributions from major artists, teachers and players. Many of them responded to the following questions:
“How would you advise young talented orchestral musicians to go about developing their listening abilities in an orchestral context? And what have you learnt about listening in your years working with some of the world’s finest orchestras?”
But if you prefer to just see the results, then click the link below!
2. Part II: How do you listen?
The second part of the Listening Project started in our residency at our summer home in Grafenegg and finished again in Ferrara, on September 2019. To hear from our audiences, we designed a survey with questions about desired performance presentation, behaviour of musicians onstage, information provided about the concert, and ambience and formality of the performance.
The survey was given out at a number of performances in A4 folded paper form. Audiences also had the opportunity to respond by e mail and also online via the EUYO website.
The Listening Project survey clearly shows significant cultural differences between the countries surveyed, yet they also demonstrate that there is no single type of listener.
We have provided a long Audience Survey Report that we encourage you to read.