How Do Arts Administrator Practice To Get Better?

Sometimes a good headline is all it takes. When I saw a link to a New Yorker piece about “Bassoonfluencers,” I knew I had to at least take a look.

It turned out to be an article about a woman who posts her daily bassoon practice sessions on Instagram. She was inspired by violinist Hillary Hahn’s online posting of 100 days of her own practice regimen. The bassoonist, Morgan Davison, feels that being accountable to her followers to make a daily posting helps keep her motivated and evaluating the quality of her recordings has kept her on a path to improvement.

Readers may recall I made a post back in January about Hillary Hahn’s use of daydreaming as part of her practice routine.

I have long been interested in the process of practice and improvement so the article about Davison and other musicians using social media as part of their practice intrigues me.

On the other hand, it isn’t exactly a new idea for me. I have long felt writing this blog and having an accountability to my readers aids my effort to be a better arts administrator. The need to seek out new material to write about keeps me abreast of all sorts of developments in policy, theory, and practice. Additionally, it helps me perceive connections that wouldn’t seemingly intersect with arts and culture.

I would be interested to know if anyone else has a practice they feel improves their proficiency as an arts administrator.  Performers have long used recordings as a way to reflect upon and improve themselves. Posting those sessions on social media is only the newest manifestation of that.

Except for reading, going to conferences and networking, I am not sure if arts administration has had a similar tool to use. These things don’t provide for easy reflective assessment. Keeping a journal might be the best method.  It might be that there hasn’t been a perceived need for self-improvement in arts administration, but the challenges and speed of change over the last 20 years or so have revealed a need for it.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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