Where Did I Put Those Grumpy Pants?

Douglas Rosenthal published a delightful article at Who’s Your Audience? that puts a fun spin on the traditional New Year’s resolution theme by coming up with a shortlist of things he doesn’t want to hear you talking about connected to the classical music field.

Admittedly, I write this post wearing my Grumpy Pants. But I’m also donning my Optimism Cardigan.

Adaptistration People 128I challenge you not to love anything following that.

Rosenthal’s quartet of no-zone topics include:

  1. All the great opera singers are dead.
  2. I listen to classical music when I want to relax.
  3. Classical Music is dying.
  4. Anything that degrades women.

You should definitely swing by and read the full post to learn more about why those made his list.

And since I too own a pair of grumpy pants (but really, who doesn’t?), I’ll add two more to the list:

  1. Disrupt [fill in the blank].  This field isn’t TechCrunch and slipping the word “disrupt” into decades old talking points on the concert environment, programming, or business models isn’t fooling anyone. Nonetheless, my pessimistic side expects to see this word worm its way into the titles and talking points of more than a fair share of conference sessions and industry magazine articles. Resist being lured into thinking these are genuinely fresh conversations.
  2. #MeToo discussions that interject “yes, but…genius” points. It doesn’t matter which A-List artist you’re talking about, if you feel the need to pepper a conversation about sexual misconduct with any sort of qualifying remark rooted in artistic excellence, just stop. You aren’t adding perspective and regardless the reason, you’re simply displaying a remarkable lack of empathy. If you aren’t sure where the line is, go read this article and use the author’s approach as a guide for what not to do.

What else would you add to the list?

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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