TAFTO Reader Response: Someone Took Me As A Kid

After reading Lisa Hirsch’s TAFTO contribution, Tom Lowderbaugh, felt compelled to share his own experiences when he was a child helped his path cross with classical music.

Ms. Hirsch,
[I] loved your advice on how to share “classical music” with a young person. Of course, it was just that kind of sharing that opened the world of “classical music” for me. (We really have to find a better name for the music that we love. “Classical” sounds so dead, so unappealing, missing the excitement that sends us into raptures.)
In seventh grade I heard another student practicing Rachmaninoff’s infamous Prelude in C# minor, which was a sound that I’d never heard before. Her practicing motivated me to beg my parents to give me piano lessons. My piano teacher may not have been the greatest technician, but she opened my eyes and heart to the world of instrumental music and opera. She took me to one of my first concerts, a free performance by the recently triumphant Van Cliburn  playing [one of] Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto and to my very first opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, starring Anna Moffa and Giuseppe di Stefano, conducted by Tulio Serafin. I was hooked and my life was immeasurably enriched. My piano playing was never wonderful, but it opened other doors in life for me.
Would that I could do the same for others!

I don’t think there’s any reason Tom wouldn’t be able to help a child the same way his old piano teacher helped him.  There’s certainly no requirement to be a musician or a teacher in order to bring someone closer to classical music, all it takes is an interest to do so.  Experiencing the event through your intercession may be just what some people need, so start close to home with relatives like nieces and nephews.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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