Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A related opportunity

Today I found out that I have been invited to return to the Finals of the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL) Orchestra Management Fellowship Program (OMFP).

This opportunity is not only great for my career, since I aspire to one day run a symphony orchestra, but also for my research. The Fellowship would provide me with not only an additional set of connections to information and statistic regarding the orchestra industry, but it would also bring more creditability to myself when I requested information.

Creditability is the one thing I tend to struggle the most with. Even with all my degrees, some years in the field of orchestra & non-profit management and the press my research has received, I acknowledge a resistance to my information requests. This possibly could just be fictionalized, that the resistance actually is rooted in the personnel managers lack of information. I can also see the point about how a gentleman in his mid-twenty's may be ill-equipped to properly handle and analyze the data he is requesting.

Still I press on, despite the hecklers, the pessimists, the people who feel that a review of the labor market is not relevant, and that the aspects of my analysis are flawed and would only serve to create more instability in the orchestra field. Yet these individuals are far outweighed by the individuals who champion my cause, who assist me with gathering the information and offering opinions on their employment outlooks.

Monday, February 12, 2007

International Musician

Today I went to the CCM's Blegen Library in search of the long road to record labor demands in the orchestra industry. While it was my hope that Personnel Manager would supply me with enough substantial information to not require me delving into the archives of International Musician publication, I believe that in the end this level of grunt research is the way to go to reach a solid conclusion.

I poured over the most recent year of the International Musician, searching through the Classified Ads to record all the published openings. As I was writing each entry down, I wanted to know more about the people behind these jobs and why they were leaving. Did they get a new job at a different orchestra? Did they decide to retire from their careers? Did they unfortunately pass away and now a gap has been left to be filled. Each one of these openings represents a single life, a person whose desire it is to perform onstage. It is my job to reduce them to mere numbers for analysis, but I must always remember the human element.

After I completed that task, I went back to the beginning of the records that CCM had. Microfilm reels contained ten years of archived magazines, beginning in July of 1983. I only had an opportunity to record six months of posts before my hand began to aggravate me. I need to figure an easier way to record the data other than scribing it onto a yellow legal pad for later uploading into an Excel sheet.

This coming week's goal is to streamline the data entry process by creating a master data spreadsheet and returning to Blegen for another session with the microfilm.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mr. Seltzer

In response to a copy of my research paper I recently sent, Mr. Seltzer has agreed to meet with me and discuss how his previous research and connections in the music industry can help with my research.

Since my last update regarding survey returns, I have received another two responses. One organization is working on obtaining the data while another could not supply me with anything at this time due to a recent change in personnel.

In addition, I am planning on visiting the CCM Library on Monday to surf through the rolls of microfilm in hopes of painting a picture of the orchestra labor market beginning in the early 1980s.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Background Research

To supplement the original research I am conducting and provide readers with a complete history of the American orchestral labor market, I will need to pull information from several books.

Here are a few that I am planning on using and my thoughts on why they would be relevant:

More than Meets the Ear:
How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History
by Julie Ayer
This book contains a details history of the struggles the American musicians and the AFM as they sought equality in the workplace. It should provide some colorful anecdotes on the background of hiring practices and labor structures within orchestras.

Education of the Professional Musician
by Hildegard Froehlich
This collection of articles hopes to shed light on educational practices for musicians and possible solutions to creating an individual better prepared for the lifestyle of a potential orchestra player in the 21st Century.

The American Symphony Orchestra:
A Social History of Musical Taste
by John Henry Mueller
Cited in my original paper, this book explains the origins of the first major orchestral societies in the United States.

Classical Music in America:
A History of Its Rise and Fall
by Joseph Horowitz
Cited in my original paper, this book details the personalities behind the classical music industry in America.