Today marks the 105-year anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and well before the movie launched the disaster into new levels of cultural consciousness, examining the historical event was a major stepping stone from my conservatory years.
Specifically, one of the school’s ear training professors used to keep a framed photo of the musicians as a conversation piece to introduce students to the importance of valuing what artists contribute. That was followed by telling us that Titanic’s company, White Star Lines, billed the musicians’ families for their missing uniforms following their death. It was one of the first, and unfortunately few, instances I can recall that unabashedly prepared students for the sorts of attitudes they may encounter earning a position in an orchestra where the employer endorsed similar scruples.
Holly Mulcahy wrote a wonderful article on this topic at Neo Classical back in 2010 that should be required reading for all stakeholders. If it’s new to you, take the time out of your day to give it a read.