The Merlot Effect

As we all prepare for the opening concerts and return to the live events, it’s a good time to think about how we are inviting people into the experience. Clearly there will be the seasoned concert goers who are already looking forward to returning. But there is a huge opportunity to shape the path for more newcomers to the live orchestral experience. The orchestra industry has a reputation it must shake. You probably can picture all the stereotypes that are keeping newcomers from feeling welcome to come. These stereotypes come in many … Continue Reading

When is the Best Time to Plant a Tree?

A few months ago, I received a letter from an arts group asking for a donation. I know they had my name on a list because I had given them a few donations in the past. But since a couple years had slipped by without a thank you or acknowledgement, I gave to other organizations who did seem to appreciate my humble donations. Receiving the request was, and was not, a surprise. It was not a surprise because every arts organization is seeking more donations during this Covid era. The surprise was … Continue Reading

Can Music Be Part of Wellness and Self-Care

It is not really going to come as a surprise that after the holidays have passed, the long winter, with its limited daylight hours and inclement weather, people can be put into a melancholy mood. This happens for many folks every year. And then there is this season. Add those seasonal “norms” to our current pandemic crisis, mix it with uncertainty and you get all the ingredients for a mental health challenge like nothing we have seen recently. While I was in Wichita in November for the symphony concerts, I met with … Continue Reading

Pivoting in a Pandemic: “Yes, And” style

What is missing in music industry’s board meetings, orchestra meetings, faculty meetings, marketing meetings, artistic planning meetings, etc.? Missing is the ability or desire to listen and add to an idea. Basically, a “Yes, And” philosophy where teamwork, embracing failures or upsets, and a genuine support of everyone on the team allows a group of people to reach a better conclusion or solution. It’s an artform that is allows the best kind of flexibility and nimbleness. I wish these skills were taught in college! So when Texas State University orchestra director, Jacob … Continue Reading

Orchestra Etiquette in a Covid Era

As many orchestras begin returning to the stage, here are a few etiquette guidelines to think about: Do not complain on social media about wearing a mask Everyone knows they are difficult to breathe in, cause acne, hard to perform in, and uncomfortable. Even if you are joking, making light of the situation, be cognizant that there are many orchestras that are not performing. Colleagues in orchestras not playing will not take kindly to your witticisms and asides about a mask because it’s likely they would be more than happy to be … Continue Reading

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