Lab Coats And Mallets

Last month we examined a music listening blog from violinist Timothy Judd and I want to take a moment today and point out another relatively new culture blog written by Jason Haaheim, Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra…oh, he’s also a scientist with nearly a dozen patents and more than twice that number in scientific publications.

OIM SyndromeSince his inaugural post examining what it’s like to move from the world of scientific research to opera orchestra timpanist, it’s been a hit with readers. Some of Haaheim’s most popular posts to date include a deep dive into what it’s like starting out as a brand new member of the Met opera orchestra along with his outlook on what it takes to maintain a healthy career and engaged as a musician in a field that has a reputation for grinding down those on the inside.

Full disclosure mode, Haaheim is a client and if you’re wondering just how awesome it is to be a part of helping individuals like him start and cultivate culture blogs that are as entertaining as they are engaging, I can confirm it is every bit as good as it sounds.

Regular readers with a good memory might recognize Haaheim’s name when it appeared here in a post from April 25, 2017. He was one of the Met musicians who designed and implemented one of their Community Performance Series concerts for ailing Veterans at the Veterans Affairs NY Harbor Healthcare System Facility.

From a big picture perspective, Haaheim is still at the onset of his Met career and having someone at that point in time maintaining such a meticulous record is bound to produce more than a few engaging articles. As such, you should see about adding it to your existing reading 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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