Crowdsourcing Mask Knowledge

In a perfect world, musicians would have ample time to try a variety of face masks in order to find options that provide maximum safety and comfort. Having said that, things are far from perfect and the cost of buying a few dozen masks is an expense most musicians aren’t in a position to absorb.

Consequently, it’s been fascinating watching musicians connect across social media to share experiences.

For example, this post from conductor Larry Loh garnered a great deal of useful feedback from colleagues.

Musicians, what are your favorite masks? I have acquired many different masks (in addition to our homemade ones). This…

Posted by Lawrence Loh, conductor on Thursday, October 1, 2020

Bassoonist (and foster cat mom extraordinaire) Sue Heineman posted something similar just yesterday and is already getting a good bit of useful feedback

Who wants to recommend their favorite facemask? We have yet to actually purchase any… have had some really nice ones…

Posted by Sue Heineman on Monday, October 19, 2020

My wife, violinist Holly Mulcahy, did a good bit of crowdsourced research before settling on some masks sold by an online retailer that specializes in dancewear.

Conductors, violinists, and violists: Please share favorite brands of masks or favorite styles so we can help each other know which is best to play in or conduct in…..

Posted by Holly Mulcahy on Monday, September 21, 2020

Let’s keep the crowdsource thing going. Are there any good threads you’ve come across with useful information about face masks?

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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