Heading Back To Eastman

”ll be heading back to the Eastman Conservatory of Music as a guest lecturer on Thursday, November 3, 2005 to follow up on some of the work I did last fall. Last year’s lecture included a mock collective bargaining agreement negotiation where the students elected representatives and I served as the “representatives” for management. The class was a large success and this year’s lecture promises to equip the students with even more of the necessary skills they’ll need to successfully interact with their future managers…


I’ll be spending a large portion of the class going over much of the ideas contained in my recent presentation at the 2005 national ICSOM conference, entitled “What Musicians Should Be Doing Between Negotiations”. In particular, I’ll be going over how musicians can participate in a representative capacity to gather information about the organization and use that data to develop input regarding the strategic direction of the orchestra.

At Eastman, I’ll be taking that concept a step further by actually presenting the students with some detailed information about a fictional orchestra and show them how to begin processing basic institutional figures. There’s certainly no intent to turn these future players into accountants, but it is a relatively easy process to begin identifying positive and negative trends within the organization.

As such, these students will be much better equipped to participate on representative committees without feeling overwhelmed by an avalanche of responsibilities they are unprepared for as well as reducing the likelihood of being duped by bad managers.

The goal with this lecture is to provide these musicians of tomorrow with the tools they’ll need to make a positive impact on their future ensembles. I’ll be publishing a follow-up report or two here after I return from the class.

To learn more about what happened last year, you can read the archived articles here:
Eastman Students Negotiate Their Future Part 1
Eastman Students Negotiate Their Future Part 2

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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