It’s Time To Leave Panic Mode Behind

There’s no shortage of panic inducing discussions and news floating around. Big budget groups like the Guthrie Theater and The Met have announced or are telegraphing the punch of prolonged closures that gut most of the 20/21 season.

If that weren’t enough, the timing of service organization annual conferences happened to fall right when we’re still only beginning to learn more about coronavirus. Early studies projected an apocalyptic future and those early fears ran through online conference panels like wildfire.

The coup de grace appeared in the form early audience surveys indicating an unwillingness to return to live performances without a reliable vaccine.

As a result, media outlets have been amplifying these fears and creating something of feedback loop that only serves to exacerbate the cycle.

Fortunately, that’s starting to change.

Expanded research into live music performance is beginning to replace early anxieties with quantifiable studies ready for peer review and expanded testing.

Media platforms are beginning to take a deeper dive as well. Case in point, the wonderfully researched article by Jim Farber in the 5/15/2020 edition of San Francisco Classical Voice.

Make no mistake, it’s not loaded with sunshine and rainbows. But instead of amplifying fear, it approaches the enormous challenges ahead with a certain analytical calm.

I was happy to contribute some insight into the numerous issues examined in the article and rest assured, we’ll be covering a few of those subjects in even greater detail over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, put this on the top of your reading pile. Once you’ve finished, be sure to share across the socials and engage in some discussion about any of subjects it examines.

If you need a suggestion to get started, share your thoughts on the decision push existing subscribers to renew or lose their seats even when next season is anything but guaranteed.

Read: How Arts Companies Navigate the Unknown

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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