Too Much Of A Good Thing

Although this notice could be filed under "better late than never" I wanted to take a moment to point out an article which appeared at The Partial Observer at the beginning of April by Holly Mulcahy which examines the realities of numerous job openings in one orchestra. Holly does an excellent job of walking a reader through reasons why copious numbers of openings in the same ensemble should serve as a warning to potential audition candidates (not to mention potential managers and staffers). Personally, I think Holly’s article is even more poignant given the recent news about the continuing surge in music school enrollment. Now, more than ever, students poised to enter the audition circuit need to do so with eyes wide open. Not to scare them mind you (something which music schools have misplaced fears about), but to better prepare them to avoid the sort of pitfalls and perils that would snag an otherwise talented musician who could contribute to all aspects of the business in a number of positive ways. So take a moment and give Holly’s article a read.

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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