Charting the past to understand the cultural inheritance of concert hall listening and audience development practices

Claire D. Nicholls, Clare Hall, Rachel Forgasz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Although often thought of as a contemporary practice, audience development and pedagogies for listener education can be traced throughout the history of the public concert where their origins were forged. This paper unpacks how western listening and audience practices have developed over time, the changes in listening and behaviour norms, the emergence of early practitioners who developed ideas and pedagogies for listener education within the concert hall in Europe, and exposes the current paucity of research on the educational dimension of audience development and pedagogies of listening in the contemporary orchestral concert hall. It is argued that by understanding the past we can better understand the current concert hall and the ways we ourselves actively participate and create our own histories in the ongoing evolution of classical music performance. The paper concludes that this cultural inheritance has implications for arts organisations, educators, audiences, and listeners alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-516
Number of pages15
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • audience education
  • history of audience development
  • history of the public concert
  • Listening pedagogies
  • orchestral audiences

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