A Body Language Expert Offering Feedback On A Professional Orchestra? Yes Please.

The 11/11/2019 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a terrific article by Jeremy Reynolds, who came up with the idea to have a body language expert examine orchestra conductors and provide feedback.

It’s as interesting as you can imagine and a few steps short of what I would love to see next: observations of musicians and patrons during a live concert.

Adaptistration People 144While I get why something like this begins with music directors, they are probably the last stakeholder on my list I want to hear from a body language expert about. Instead, I would find it fascinating to see the expert offer feedback of musicians through the full range of the concert event. Everything from the first musician to filter out to warm up through the final one heading off stage after the concert is over.

I’m equally curious to see an evaluation of concertmaster body language and when applicable, an executive’s curtain speech.

And then there’s the audience. Having the expert examine how patrons interact with one another and how they influence each other’s experience could be fascinating.

Lastly, there’s some real potential in contrasting orchestras of similar budget.

I did a bit of digging after reading Reynold’s article to see if there’s anything out there along the lines of formal research and came up empty. If anyone knows of something, I would be grateful to hear about it.

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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