A few years ago, I had an idea…. a vague, unformed idea… I did try to think it through a number of times and I have never codified it, nor have I forgotten the basic principle.
My idea was to create an opportunity bank.
Each time a musician helped another (website advice, name of a good coffee shop on tour, links to possible venues and presenters) and it paid off, the musician would acknowledge her benefactor with a credit of some kind. As you can see, the idea spiraled into cumbersomeness and irrelevance when I attempted to assign a value to the original gift. But the basic premise was that it is more valuable to provide another musician with an opportunity to do something that they wanted… money is not always the most important part of that equation.
And my other idea was to have mutual or shared leadership… I think that this is different from simple equality in that the expectation is verbalization of ideas and the courage to speak up.
When I was principal bassoon of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, I had a fantasy of sharing my salary with the second bassoonist. Having been a second bassoonist in the first decade of my career, I knew how much hard work was involved and considered it an absolutely equal position. I also wanted to share authority within our tiny domain. It simply didn’t happen; the orchestral ecology was powerful. She insisted on calling me “chief” or “boss” and I never had the courage to offer to divide my tiny overscale payment with her.
I still feel that articulating our ideas and presenting them is more important than fitting in and being submissive. It takes continual work to develop these skills yet the value of speaking out and finding kindred spirits in the music world is essential.
Subscription to Greatness
And other idea was to set up a network of musicians interested in supporting great living composers, particularly unknown ones. The musicians would contribute a basic fee and
listen to excerpts on the data base from the different composers. The contributing musicians would vote both on each composer and specify their preferred genre. Once any composer achieved a sufficient number of votes in any given genre, the commission would automatically be generated and dedicated to the musicians who had voted for him.
In the meantime, now the world has caught up with me… these ideas exist all around us on the internet now in different guises… it is an amazing time for artists of all kinds!!