Are you a leader who is ‘on the side of the players’?

Business and music leaders face similar issues when working. Both have to be effective in enabling employees/musicians to perform their best. How do music leaders gain trust, respect so essential to achieving performance excellence? Here are the thoughts of an orchestral player as to the orchestral player – conductor relationship. Beecham, Boult, Barbirolli, Sargent and Karajan are considered the top world conductors of the 20th century.

“There is a very subtle aspect of the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra. We can tell if we are sitting as an assembled orchestra when a conductor takes one step towards us whether he is on the side of the players, whether he associates himself with us or not. We don’t even need him to reach the podium and say ‘Good morning’. We can tell. It’s something in the manner. Beecham had this quality, supremely, as did Boult and Barbirolli. Sargent not at all. And Karajan’s manner? Well, it was very pleasant. It’s a stupid word, I know, but it’s true. He was very pleasant. For all his celebrity and charisma, “when he walked out, we felt he was one of us.’

Are you a leader who is ‘on the side of the players’?

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What is the Music Leader up to?

Attending a classical concert you’ve seen conductors on their job – they present themselves to the public apart from the rest of the orchestra, orchestra members look at them with respect and awe, wave their hands in the air. Have you asked yourself, what are they really up to? The conductor does not play an instrument, doesn’t make a sound, but he is the star of the evening. He is invited to shows, appears on billboards etc. So what is his power? His true power derives from his ability to make other people powerful. He needs to be effective at enabling musicians to play their best. Next time you go to a concert observe the conductor leading the musicians to a unified, powerful performance.

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