07. May 2008 · Comments Off on The Orchestra As Teacher · Categories: Links, Ramble

Feel like no one knows your pain at work when the tempo suddenly picks up and you’re left to lead in front of a crowd?

The stage is full of sympathizers at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Who knew that the tuxedoed and bejeweled musicians are also section leaders (read: division managers) running teams of worker bees through moments of grandeur and plenty of just plain monotony?

This article might be of interest to some readers. The orchestra is being used to educate FedEx folks.

As the orchestra floated through Beethoven, Loebel stopped to introduce management modules scripted to heighten business concepts.

“We have to balance our roles within the texture of the music. Some are playing constants and some shift,” Loebel said.

When he asked principal flutist Karen Busler about her role in bar 67, he got this:

“I’m the diva,” she said to snickers from the kettle drums to the strings.

Turns out, how the rest of the group supports her is the same sort of teamwork that happens every day at the Cannon Center or the FedEx hub.

“I make the diva look good,” said Robert Woolfrey, principal clarinetist. “I provide accompaniment and set up the rhythm to make her sound good.”

Salvalaggio’s role was subtler. “My sense of good taste and camaraderie tell me to play under her.”

Of course they probably didn’t hear about how we can also sink another player or conductor, or how some folks just can’t get along. Salvalaggio doesn’t mention that some players don’t have good taste or camaraderie. I won’t go there either.

Oops. Too late!

Really, though, we all attempt to work together and get along. Even if we’d not get along off stage, on stage is different. You have to put hostilities aside. You have to forget “issues”. You have to deal. And make good music.

Anyway … ramble ramble … enough of me!

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