Walking In Eyes Wide Open

The Partial Observer published an article today by Holly Mulcahy which examines how aspiring musicians learn about their desired career path. More to the point, she talks about how high school and undergraduate students don’t learn enough about the realities of becoming a professional musician unless they are fortunate enough to encounter a private teacher or other professor who assumes the responsibility for laying it all out there…

Holly goes on to examine the delicate balance between not going so far as to discourage enthusiasm among talented students while not inadvertently setting them up to walk right into one of numerous professional bear traps. This is precisely the sort of material future musicians should be hearing and I’ve had the pleasure of conducting several lectures, workshops, and frank discussions at colleges and conservatories as well as giving personal guidance to students from my private teaching days.

The more attention this subject receives, the better. You can read Holly’s article here.

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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