Started after 6 years old? Too late!

An interesting article that offered a valuable perspective found its way into my Facebook feed last week. The article was about a violinist who started violin in his mid-teens, not at the “normal” age of 3. One person commented on the article that starting later than age 6 was detrimental if one wanted to be competitive. I had to politely disagree and replied that for me, starting at 10 seemed to be okay. A flood of other colleagues shared similar stories. Some starting at 11, 13, and like the author, 16! There … Continue Reading

Uncomfortable Tux, Awkward History

Any time dress codes for orchestras come up, a can of worms is opened. Today, let’s talk about the tuxedo! Those in favor of the tux like its tradition, its class, and its look. Those who aren’t in favor dislike the lack of comfort, the stuffiness, and the stodgy tradition. It’s safe to say that most people don’t know the history of the tux, so here’s a brief look: The tuxedo was born in England about 1860 at the request of the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. As … Continue Reading

Take Care Of The Plane First

Trust me, this is one great analogy for the music field as we prepare to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic and begin our concerts again. There is an amazingly simple but important rule in the aviation world which could easily apply to the music world (or any industry, really). When flying a plane, especially during a crisis, the order of attention goes: Plane, Destination, then Communication. This is known as Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, or ANC, and it is one of the first lessons pilots learn. The top priority when flying is … Continue Reading

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