The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Well-Tempered Ear turns 10 today. Changes are probably in store. What do you like and dislike? What changes would you like to see or not to see? | August 20, 2019

IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event. And you might even attract new readers and subscribers to the blog.

By Jacob Stockinger

Today – August 20, 2019 – The Well-Tempered Ear turns 10 years old.

To keep it interesting, entertaining, relevant and useful, but also to offer an easier workload for something that is a hobby, some changes are probably in store and maybe even needed.

For example, the “You Must Hear This” postings that offer pieces of classical music or stories about national and international issues often generate more traffic than local events.

And even with 2.1 million hits, subscriptions seem to have plateaued.

Perhaps all that is because, even with the explosion in classical music over the past decade, many individuals and groups now have their own websites and email newsletters.

But The Ear wants to know what you think.

What would make you and others read the blog more and pass it along?

What do you like or dislike?

Should it even continue?

What changes, if any, would you like to see – or not to see?

Whatever you decide and share, thank you for 10 years of loyal reading, positive reactions and many, many comments.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Your work over the last ten years has introduced me to countless pieces I now love, and has transformed my experience of music in Madison. Your “You must hear this” entries are wonderful, and your alerts to events in the Madison area are invaluable. Without them, I shudder to think how much of my musical experience simply would vanish.

    Your blog provides irreplaceable exposure to music of which I am unaware — including the post this morning of Trimble’s Pastorale, which is now on my favorite playlist! And your notes on upcoming events enormously enrich my personal experience of music .

    Close your eyes, think of Poulenc, and blow out those ten candles — and then keep right on going!!!

    Thanks so much!

    Comment by Marv — August 26, 2019 @ 7:10 am

  2. Thank you for your very informative blog about the local classical music community. I find it an invaluable resource to be able to the wonderful, diverse and abundant local classical music community.
    I hope that you continue the blog.

    Comment by Ross Ament — August 24, 2019 @ 7:05 am

  3. I really enjoy your blog. I particularly enjoy knowing of upcoming classical music events in some of the smaller settings that don’t get as much press.

    I hope you continue the blog.

    Joyce Hirsch

    On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 12:01 AM The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > welltemperedear posted: “IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD > THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) > ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential > audience members to an event. And you might even attract new rea” >

    Comment by Joyce Hirsch — August 22, 2019 @ 7:57 am

  4. Congratulations, Jake, and thank you for a wonderful decade of astute commentary! I agree that the level of musical activity in Madison has significantly increased in that time, and I think your blog is a factor in that expansion. I hope that you realize the positive impact you’ve had, and that you can hear the gratitude pouring in from all sides.

    It would be hard to overstate the value of the exposure, education, encouragement, and enthusiasm your blog has generated – what a gift. I know that musicians from much larger cities (like Chicago) are jealous of the generous concert previews and reviews that we enjoy here in Madison.

    It’s natural to use this milestone as an opportunity to reflect and reassess (like many others here, I wouldn’t change a thing!), and I couldn’t urge someone to continue a service if it’s feeling like a burden. But I hope you’ll continue the blog in some form; if not, you’ll leave some very big shoes to fill in this community.

    Comment by Marika Fischer Hoyt — August 21, 2019 @ 9:58 pm

    • I would just like to enthusiastically agree with everything that Marika said here – and I couldn’t say it better if I tried! We are so grateful to you and your effort, Jake, and appreciate each and every blog post. I know you can’t get to everything, but you sure do try. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

      Comment by Stephanie Jutt — August 27, 2019 @ 10:39 am

  5. Hello Jake! CONGRATULATIONS! on ten years! (Is it really??). I have enjoyed the blog very much, and not being a very digital person it is the ONLY one compelling enough for me to read.

    I like it just as it is. I find the mix interesting, helpful and informative. However, if you are feeling the pressure of writing it and want to lessen the work load I won’t be selfish and insist you continue just as it is. I think the local listings are most important because I know of no other source that is as informative and complete. It would be hard to find in another source all you provide. Beyond the local, add the other items as you have the time and feel the inclination.

    It was well stated above: I would rather have less frequent (and less complete) postings than none.

    Happy tenth anniversary! I sincerely hope you are receiving kudos and congratulations for twenty years of providing information and pleasure come 2029.

    Comment by DARYL K SHERMAN — August 21, 2019 @ 6:18 pm

  6. Dear Jake,

    Although I do not live in Madison, I read your blog and frequently attend concerts in Madison. I also appreciate your keeping us up to date on the world of classical music outside Wisconsin. I love the mix, as well as your information about classical music at the Grammy Awards.


    Comment by Sue — August 21, 2019 @ 11:12 am

  7. Really like TW-TE just the way it is. Really appreciate knowing about events going around the area. Sure groups have their own websites, but if you haven’t heard about them in the first place, how do you find out about their websites? Keep up letting us keep up on good music in Madison!
    Cal Bruce

    Comment by CALVIN S BRUCE — August 20, 2019 @ 10:47 pm

  8. Dear Jake,

    As a performer, I have always been grateful for your blog. You have been very generous in including small ensembles and events as well as the big ones, and I have often heard from people that they found out about my concerts because of your blog.

    Thank you for 10 years of a great friendship!

    Comment by Kangwon Kim — August 20, 2019 @ 3:47 pm

  9. I chime in with others! Please continue to let us know about local performances. Local groups’ publicity is spotty, we need this! National, etc. is nice, but not as badly needed.

    Comment by slfiore — August 20, 2019 @ 3:27 pm

  10. I really like the heads up and reviews of local music performances. Otherwise I would not always know about them. If you are looking to reduce your ‘hobby time’–reduce the world musical news.

    Comment by Linda Donnelly — August 20, 2019 @ 1:23 pm

  11. Please continue, Well-Tempered ear is very helpful to me. I especially benefit from the performance notices and internet links. We have experienced many wonderful performances that we would have otherwise missed.

    Comment by Anna Shen — August 20, 2019 @ 1:20 pm

  12. Please continue to post information re what is happening locally, especially when a out the classical music scene. I read your site every day, and share the info with others. The reviews are so well written and informative.

    THANK YOU for all that you have done for us all. I look forward with some trepidation toward the future.

    Comment by Jane Pizer — August 20, 2019 @ 12:47 pm

  13. I like the blog just as it is.

    But if you are looking for new ideas, here’s one:

    Please consider a Spotify Playlist that features the music being played locally and that appears on the “You must hear this” segments.

    Congratulations on a successful 10 years.

    Comment by Augustine — August 20, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

  14. I only recently discovered the blog and find it wonderful for becoming aware of events around Madison I never used to hear about until they were over!

    Comment by Anne Marie Skye — August 20, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

  15. Like other commenters, I do appreciate that you highlight local music groups and events in the Madison area so would like to see that continue.
    If you feel the need to cut back due to the time commitment, the other types of blogs could be reduced, in my opinion.
    You provide a wonderful service for all of us lovers of the classical music scene, so thank you very much.

    Comment by Stef — August 20, 2019 @ 10:53 am

    • HI Stef. Thank you so much for kind words and thoughts. They help. Best wishes, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 1:23 pm

  16. Yes, Jake, you should continue The Ear. Or, rather, I hope you will. This is how I keep up on what is going on in the Madison music world. And yes, I read it daily.

    Comment by john holzaepfel — August 20, 2019 @ 10:48 am

    • Thank you, John, for the vote of confidence. I appreciate it, especially from someone as discerning as you. Best wishes, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 11:17 am

  17. I’ll be moving to the Dane county area soon, and appreciate the announcements and commentary about local musical events. Having a single “clearinghouse” rather than having to go to multiple sites is nice. I also appreciate the notices of low cost or free events. Hope you continue with your blog!

    Comment by Nan — August 20, 2019 @ 10:35 am

  18. Jake,
    Thanks for ten years of your work and for creating a highly readable and informative blog. I wouldn’t want the format to change in any major way. We need all the information we can get on local performance and performers. I love the additional ideas on good music to hear.

    People out of the area can skip over our local news and get to the substance what they want to read.Please don’t sacrifice our local news for others who aren’t lucky enough to have a local expert/ music critic. .

    Like many others who wrote, I am one who looks forward to reading your blog consistently, and consider myself fortunate to have this luxury.

    Comment by marti young — August 20, 2019 @ 10:17 am

    • Thank you, Marti. You make a good point about being selective in what what you choose to read and how to use the blog. I will try to maintain the blog’s consistency that you like. Best Wishes, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 11:19 am

  19. Jake, this is the most useful site I know of for classical music lovers in Madison. I hope you continue to post information on classical music events in and around Madison. The other stuff is interesting, but that information is unique and vital to me. Bill Lane

    Comment by Bill Lane — August 20, 2019 @ 8:40 am

    • Thank you, Bill, for the kind words and honest assessment about what you most like. I will indeed continue to post about local events.

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:04 am

  20. Info about local groups is at the top of my list . I read the post every day to keep up with local performers, innovations, and programs. The local print media are hopeless. How else would I have known that Mr. Chair was performing at Taliesin last night? I like the tone of the blog—open, appreciative, conversational, informative. Don’t underestimate the value of the photos—especially of local groups. Thanks so much for your work for the musical and musical-wanna-be community.

    Comment by Faye Whitaker — August 20, 2019 @ 8:33 am

    • Thank you, Faye, for providing the specific of how I can continue to be useful to you and for your comment about the tine of the blog. They both matter. Best wishes. The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:05 am

  21. I love The Well-Tempered Ear and read through each and every email!! I particularly appreciate news about local events and your witty comments. No changes needed from my perspective.

    From: The Well-Tempered Ear
    Reply-To: The Well-Tempered Ear
    Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 12:03 AM
    To: Judith Kimble
    Subject: [New post] Classical music: The Well-Tempered Ear turns 10 today. Changes are probably in store. What do you like and dislike? What changes would you like to see or not to see?

    welltemperedear posted: “IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event. And you might even attract new rea”

    Comment by JUDITH KIMBLE — August 20, 2019 @ 8:24 am

    • Thank you Judith. I appreciate your praise. It motivates me. I will continue to do my best not to disappoint you. The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:06 am

  22. Should it continue? OF COURSE!

    I read it everyday. It’s the only place that keeps me informed of local performances.

    Comment by Bob — August 20, 2019 @ 7:59 am

  23. I’ve enjoyed and learned a great deal from the Ear. I’ve tried to imagine the amount of time that went into each entry and was grateful for the dedication. As a relative newcomer to classical music, I like the background information and reviews. Katie Mulligan

    Comment by katielmulligan — August 20, 2019 @ 7:25 am

    • What more can I say, Katie, than a hearty thank you for your vote of confidence. I hope my blog continues to encourage you to learn more about classical music. It is well worth the effort. But wishes, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:08 am

  24. Hi,

    I hope you continue the blog but tweak it so it is better so much of this post (unlike the others above) is more critical than laudatory.

    I would appreciate more in depth “interviews” of local talent in particular and guest performers and perhaps some young talent. But unlike some of the posters above who do not seem to know of other local sources (especially the UW Music department web site and that of WORT.FM), I think it should NOT be purely a local blog. Keep the mix pretty much as it is but definitely place the local in the context of what is happening nationally and internationally. I also would like to see more of the “You must hear this” feature. I think you should also add more information on classical “crossover” events which you pretty much seem to ignore. This is an area which can help grow interest in classical music. WORT does a much better job than you do in this area.

    The reviews need work and the recent retirement of your chief reviewer gives you an opportunity to make a change: I have enjoyed the work of music grad student (Matt Ambrosio? spelling) but think some of the past reviewers are not terribly knowledgeable and often have been wrong on numerous points. Reviews are very important. So is the comment section.

    You can do a better job with photos (you tend to use the same ones again and again). Photography in the digital age is easy and I’m sure most of the people you focus on can provide pics.

    Another important note: post something new each day to keep up interest. Not hard in this digital age and you can store some “canned” columns in case of illness or vacation.

    So I think it’s a mixed bag: yes, the blog is good but could be better, much better. Again, if my comments seem overly critical they are meant in a collegial way and as a way towards improvement. The fact that you have 2.1 million hits does mean you have an audience, and that people enjoy the blog, so chin up!

    Comment by fflambeau — August 20, 2019 @ 7:08 am

    • Thank you for the ideas and suggestions for improvements and for doing more. You cover a lot of territory and seem to want much more than you find here. Perhaps it is time for you to start your own blog.

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:11 am

      • Jake, Thanks for this response. Bravo!

        Comment by Beverly Flanigan — August 20, 2019 @ 10:46 am

  25. More often than not, your blog is where I learn about upcoming classical music performances. It’s also an inspiring source of information about the composers and performers.

    If you need to reduce your workload, could you consider posting less frequently but continue to list local performances?

    Thank you for this valuable blog — and congratulations on 10 years of spreading the word!

    Comment by Kathleen Bergee — August 20, 2019 @ 6:50 am

    • Hi Kathleen and thank you for letting me know how useful you find the blog. That certainly adds to my motivation. Less frequent posting is a possibility, but the music scene here has just gotten so bug an everyone expects coverage.
      But I appreciate all you said. And you are very welcome.

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 1:22 pm

  26. Dear Mr Stockinger ,
    Let me thank you so very much for all the hard work that must go into this blog. It has for so many of us become the number one resource to find out about all the local events in the extended- classical musical world that is happening around Madison. Your blog is truly invaluable and informs the reader so far more than other resources such as the Isthmus or the WSJ. The complete listing of music and events with up to date locations as well as the many promotional interviews are truly superbly done and appreciated. I am sure as much by the many musical organizations, groups , and individual performers who are glad to see your postings. It has helped to ensure fuller more learned and eager audiences . This for me is the crucial aspect and value of your blog.
    I am not surprised that more people perhaps have commented about your national and international pieces or your * You must hear this * pieces but I do know for a fact that the primary value of your blog for so many of a slient majority has been the promotional pieces and the weekly musical listings . It stands to reason that those other pieces lend themselves to comments . But it doesn’t mean that they are the most important or interesting aspect of your blog. Even the reviews though interesting are not particularly relevant to me though they help to reinforce those groups future turnout I imagine.
    Personally , though not my blog , to reiterate , I am not excited about discussions of the latest national virtuoso or what music is most appropriate to Valentines or other holidays . Feel free to continue these pieces by all means but they are secondary to mine and I think many others to the yeoman work you have done the past 10 years giving local audiences the crucial info and details about the local events we all wish to attend. So thank you again . May your blog prosper for another 10 years . You should be given grant’s and awards for all your hard work!

    Comment by Randall Wilkins — August 20, 2019 @ 6:28 am

    • Dear Randall,
      Thank you for your many words of encouragement and enthusiasm, and for your good wishes on another 10 years of blogging. I will try to live up to your expectations of being useful and enjoyable. Best, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:12 am

  27. I like the blog just like it is. I learn much from ‘You must hear this’ and I learn about performances I would otherwise miss. This is a great source for a true amateur devotee. If you must cut the workload, how about a weekly event calendar and less frequent postings of other types. I would miss my daily fix, but would rather have less frequent postings than none. Thanks for all you do.

    Comment by Subscriber Connie Wiegeshaus — August 20, 2019 @ 5:56 am

    • I second that emotion.

      Comment by halffastcyclingclub — August 20, 2019 @ 6:16 am

      • Thank you so much, Connie, for your kind words and praise. I will try to continue to please you by providing what you find most useful.

        Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:13 am

      • I treble that emotion! (do you like the pun?)

        Comment by Janet M Murphy — August 20, 2019 @ 1:33 pm

  28. The Ear has been a wonderful source of knowledge about classical music in general and local performers and performances in particular. Hope it continues, if you still enjoy doing it. If you feel like reducing your workload, perhaps it could be transformed into more of a social media site, with members contributing news and comments and reviews. In any case thanks for ten years of wonderful work.

    Comment by Michael Sweet — August 20, 2019 @ 1:13 am

    • Thank you Michael. We are thinking along the same lines when it comes to using a more social media approach in the future that welcomes news, comments and reviews from readers. And thank you again for your thanks. You are most welcome. The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:17 am

  29. Thanks so much for your service over these 10 years!

    What I benefit from most are the posts about Dane Co and surrounding performances and the performers.

    I can understand your need to change you work.

    Best wishes to you and “The Ear”!

    Sent from my iPad

    Comment by George Shook — August 20, 2019 @ 12:25 am

    • Thank you George.Best wishes back to you along with thanks for letting me know what you like. I will try not to short change local performers and performances. Cheers! The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:18 am

  30. Please continue to highlight local performances. It’s often the only way to get to know about delightful local talented groups.

    Comment by Patricia Henson — August 20, 2019 @ 12:22 am

    • Thank you, Patricia. I will do the best I can. Best wishes, The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 20, 2019 @ 10:14 am

    • I agree with Patricia. The Ear is my go-to source for local performances. I’m sure this is a lot of work for you, but please know that your readers appreciate it very much. Do what you need to do to keep publishing, please!

      Comment by Margaret Irwin — August 26, 2019 @ 9:18 pm

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