Guest Post: Musician Travel Problem Solving

Although titled as a problem solving exercise for musicians, today’s guest author post is equally valuable to arts administrators, especially those burdened with the corporate torture of making travel arrangements for instrumentalists. So when Maura reached out to see if I’d be interested in helping spread the word about her project, I went one better and let her author a guest post to explain what she’s up to and hopes to accomplish. ~ Drew McManus

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-172When I first started using Twitter, I was drawn to musicians. I didn’t understand this new platform, but I had learned from experience with Facebook in college that it would take time to understand how best to use emerging social media platforms to promote the organizations I was working with. In the meantime, I knew that I loved music, and wanted to learn more about what was going on in the world.

Over time, a pattern emerged. Among the other themes that concerned people – economic changes, cultural trends, etc – one problem kept repeating itself: musicians’ instruments being mis-handled or badly damaged when flying. This is a problem that deeply troubles people: I read accounts of extra gear purchased, bargaining with flight crews, long wait times with insurance reps, and saw videos spread like wildfire. In the years since, I’ve noted the frequency with which industry publications report these problems, and what kinds of responses have come from the leading advocacy efforts on this issue.

As I began to investigate this issue in earnest last year, I realized that a different kind of data and approach would be needed to motivate airlines at the level where they do business. As a result, I’ve designed a survey to ask working musicians about their experiences flying and performing, and am hoping to reach as many people as possible, so we can get actionable data. There are fewer than 25 questions, and the data from the anonymous responses will be used to develop new options for musicians’ air travel:

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If you take a few minutes to fill this out, your input will add to this effort to design real solutions. Please note that this is an independent project, and not sponsored by any organization.

About Maura Lafferty

Maura Lafferty designs and executes modern communication strategies for creative professionals and arts organizations, informed by the cultural shifts the technology sector is bringing to the San Francisco Bay Area. A passionate advocate for audience development and arts philanthropy, Maura has presented on best-practice marketing and social media practices for Opera America, Chorus America, and TechSoup, and on community engagement and arts philanthropy for the Emerging Arts Professionals. More information at

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