I början av 1990-talet inledde den amerikanska stiftelsen Knight arbetet med att undersöka hur man ska nå ut med symfonisk musik i vår allt mer föränderliga samtid. 2006 gav man ut rapporten The Search for Shining Eyes som sammanfattar de lärdomar man gjort under de år som initiativet pågick.
Knight Foundation sammanfattar de huvudsakliga lärdomarna på följande sätt:
- Flawed Design – Mid-way evaluation determined that the “shining eyes” theory that transformations in concert hall experience would reinvigorate the relationship of orchestras with their audience was too simplistic, as most outcomes from initial grants were less than transformational.
- Redesign – The Knight study, “How Americans Relate to Classical Music and Their Local Orchestras”, offered new motivations for guiding strategy. Research into the behavior of arts consumer resulted in greater understanding of audiences and concert hall innovations.
- Orchestra Lessons Learned – The problems orchestras face stem from the delivery systems they employ. Orchestras must maintain clear, focused and achievable missions to remain relevant to their communities – especially those who do not buy tickets. Free programming and outreach does not turn people into ticket buyers, participatory music education does.
- Funding Lessons Learned – Technical assistance, research, symposia and publications can make greater contributions than dollars. Leadership and clarity with applicants and grantees is an effective approach to guiding strategic change. Evaluation and direction should be established from the start.