Raising the Tribe


It is not fun when an organization you are in falls apart. It does happen sometimes. Companies fold. A chamber group breaks up. Workers go on strike.

At the recent Orchestral Musicians Symposium some true horror stories were told. Representatives from the Phoenix, Tucson, Arizona Opera, New Mexico and Spokane orchestras gave updates of their current labor relations. Suffice to say that the local and national economies are taking their toll on the Arts.

We can all empathize.

Naughty bits

I don’t think it is a far stretch to say that professional musicians live in a counter-culture to the mainstream. For starters an orchestra schedule runs counter to the typical 9 to 5 job. The Arts too attract a unique tribe of people with artistic quirks and eccentricities.

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Sometimes when trapped in a bad situation, the bad things that people do escalate. Stress and pressure can bring out the worst in people. Quirky people will get quirkier. Mad people will get madder.

One topic that is fairly well-covered here at Horn Matters, is the topic of narcissism, which I am convinced is a serious issue to pay attention to in the classical music field.

In the “Narcissism 101” series, probably the most concise article is “That N Word Again” where several main points are summarized. If you want more details, you can start the whole 6-part series at the first post.


Countless resources to leadership may be found online, in print and on other media. By contrast very little may be found about follower-ship, outside of organized religion.

This aside, we certainly need visionary leaders. Seth Godin’s presentation below is a very convincing 17-minute talk on concepts of innovation and leadership. It provoked a long discussion in our household.

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