I feel like I’ve been in a daze, a ‘wait and see what happens’ posture for a while now. The problem with this is that the world is still turning and changing all the faster now during the pandemic. As arts leaders, we need to move as quickly as we can. Guidelines are changing/ relaxing daily with spikes in the coronavirus expected. Most of our organizations have been decimated by the inability to perform for our audience.
What’s something you can do for your audience even if you can’t host them in your normal venue? How can you keep them engaged even now?
The initial dust is settling. If there was any doubt before, we know that things will never be the same for many parts of life post-pandemic, especially for the performing arts. We must deal with new legalities of large gatherings, new customs, and the changing public perception of safety. We must understand each of these and then respond to them directly.
One thing hasn’t changed: we must communicate with our audience and with our musicians. We must listen to their concerns and hopes, and we must respond to them in addition to the communication about the music. Above all, we must be open to what we hear.
Have you picked up the phone and called someone? Have you sent an email? Have you put together that meeting? All of these things can be done during a pandemic in 2020.
What do you believe in? There’s nothing like a good crisis to help you remember.
What is the most drastic change you can make? What is that complete left turn that you’ve always had in the back of your mind? Now is the time to try those things. We have a lot of great technology. We have to be as creative with it as we are with our music.
What’s next? This is the million dollar question. If you can posit an answer, you have a seat at the table. We need to have the courage and the generosity to share our answers. Not everything will work, but we must move forward. Staying still is not an option.
This pandemic has already shifted the arts landscape dramatically. Canceled concerts have all but eliminated work for most musicians. As you can tell, I haven’t written much in 2020. I want to make this blog something valuable to all of you who have founded and lead musical ensembles. Consequently, I’m planning on shifting this blog to ask “What’s next?” It’s on all of our minds. The nonprofit I founded, Project: Sound, brings musicians from around the world into rural areas. I don’t have any idea when we’ll be able to do another tour. If you lead an arts organization, shoot me an email. Let me know what you’re doing to adjust to the new reality.
We’re all in this together.
This pandemic has been catastrophic for arts organizations--and it looks like things will only get worse. Some have said that concerts and sports events won’t happen until 2021. What will arts organizations do?
We innovate. Now is the time when we need to change the way we do business, to use all of the technology we haven’t, and to move into the present. It’s no longer an option.
As we enter the final month of the year, it’s time to reflect on 2019. What lessons did we learn? What didn’t we finish that we can finish next year? Yet, we don’t have to wait until next year to generate a resolution and then seek to do something. If you haven’t finished something, you can start today, set a resolution to finish this month or even this week. No need to wait.
The holiday season is a time to remember the people we’re thankful for and for the time, the money, and the help they’ve given us. The classical music ecosystem can’t function or even exist without many people putting in a lot of effort. It’s also a time to remember that the field should have joy and life. Our music must have it--and we must have it in our lives. So, take some time to be thankful and merry.