Can you teach resourcefulness?


On the agenda at a recent Board of Overseers' meeting at the Curtis Institute of Music were past graduates, some with non-traditional careers both in music and not, speaking about the preparation their Curtis education provided them. The backdrop to the conversation was a speech the previous afternoon by Derek Bok, who advocated for the importance of liberal education beyond music as an essential component of an artist's preparation.  The context for the entire discussion was the current state of the classical music field and the idea that … [Read more...]

Whither classical music radio

Jasper's Antique Radio Museum (thanks to trustynick)

The Station Resource Group and Walrus Research, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, published a report in June on the Performance of Classical Music Stations.   The report is part of a larger effort at the Station Resource Group to advance thinking around what it would take to expand audiences for public radio stations of all types.  Organized under the project name Grow The Audience, this multi-year effort has convened station leaders, studied high-performing stations, commissioned research, and published provocations … [Read more...]

This consumer movement should help us


In a recent book and several articles (Huffington Post, Strategy+Business, Forbes, others - just Google "Spend Shift"), John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio describe a new breed of consumers they've named "Spend Shifts."   The co-authors say that the Spend Shift movement began before the Great Recession and consists of a large, diverse demographic group who "realize that how they spend money is a form of power, and are moving from mindless consumption to mindful consumption, increasingly taking care to purchase goods and services from sellers … [Read more...]

Celebrate rigor


At the Salzburg Global Seminar I wrote about in my most recent post we were fortunate to have a number of leading music educators from around the world as participants.  Among them was Duffie Adelson, President of Chicago's Merit School of Music, who spoke to us about that impressive school's philosophy and results.  In her talk she hit a nerve with me by saying that we in the arts need to "celebrate rigor" and that "being held to a high standard is the highest possible compliment" you can pay someone.  Merit's mission statement is overt with … [Read more...]

Salzburg manifesto: The value of music and the right to play

Salzburg, Austria

Last week I had the honor of serving as Co-Chair, with Nicholas Kenyon, of a session at the Salzburg Global Seminar titled, "Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music."  Nearly 60 people from 23 countries traveled to Salzburg where we met for four days to discuss the ways that music contributes to individuals, societies and cultures.  Participants were musicians, composers, presenters, music educators, policymakers, funders and patrons, neuroscientists, and others who've spent a lifetime in the music field.  Lively discussions about … [Read more...]

Working to create demand

Musicians of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra on stage at Ordway Center

(This blog post was originally published on the NEA's Art Works blog on March 16, 2011.) I thought it would be interesting to write about the efforts we have made at The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to increase demand for our classical music concerts.  Chairman Landesman was quoted as saying that “demand is not going to increase.”  At the SPCO we just don’t believe that.  The music we perform has endured hundreds of years and is part of a vibrant living tradition.  We are passionate advocates for our art form, and for the meaning it brings … [Read more...]

Teaching how to learn

The Solar System from Touch Press, a beautiful app

Last month I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with senior educators from Interlochen Center for the Arts, where I am a board member.  We were doing a deep dive into the ways teaching and learning are changing, given the immediate availability of information and ideas via digital devices in the classroom. I am not an expert in educational theory, having never taken a class or read very much about how teachers learn to teach.   But I have been fortunate to have been on the receiving end of memorable teaching from a handful of … [Read more...]

Big change is created how?

Small steps photo taken by Frank Starmer in Thailand

I'm ready to take a break from the supply/demand discussion, at least for a while.  As I've been thinking about it I find that other work I'm doing is refracted through the lens of that discussion.  One such item is an article that Russell Willis Taylor recommended to me and I'm passing it along to all of you.  It's called No Big Deal, by Thanassis Cambanis, and was published in January in the Boston Globe.  Cambanis writes about the Columbia University economist Scott Barrett whose research looks at the history of success or failure in … [Read more...]

In the supply/demand equation, organizational structures matter

Supply and demand curve from Wikipedia commons

The subject of whether there is a supply/demand problem in the nonprofit cultural sector is resonating with a lot of people, and for me it's caused reflection on what's changed that's brought us to this discussion.   And one thing that has changed is funders' expectations for what constitutes an appropriate grantee. In the 1970's and 1980's there existed a number of intermediary cultural organizations that no longer exist (or exist with a changed mission), some national and some local, whose purpose in part was to provide the organizational … [Read more...]

What next, death panels?

Mr. Rocco Landesman, NEA Chair

In an interesting turn of events last week, the NEA Chair, Rocco Landesman, echoed the "too much art" refrain that we've been hearing lately.   The press quotes varied from this one on the NY Times Arts Beat e-column to this one in the Post.    The Post has him saying, "We're overbuilt.  We have too many theaters."   And the Times quote is, "You can either increase demand or decrease supply.  Demand is not going to increase so it's time to start thinking about decreasing supply."   Let's leave aside for today the thought that the Chair of … [Read more...]