When all is said and done and the field has moved past the conflicts defining the Season of Discontent, it will be surprising if hindsight doesn’t identify a profound and nearly universal lack of public relations and communication unpreparedness among musician stakeholders. To date, some efforts have been so ham-handed it’s akin to watching a trapped animal trash about in a net only to make their entanglement worse.
To be clear here, communication methods and their content are mutually exclusive in this observation; but moral high ground notwithstanding, even the strongest of positions can be rendered impotent when implemented improperly.
One of the more egregious errors is a lack of brevity and one of my favorite quotes on the topic that simultaneously helps understand the necessary approach alongside the process is from Blaise Pascal (although this phrasing is oft attributed to Mark Twain):
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Or if you prefer a more carnal route, then Dorothy Parker’s take (which itself is a witty turn on Shakespeare’s words) should drive the point home so to speak:
“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
A recent article from Neo Classical’s Holly Mulcahy titled PR vs. TMI suggests that these observations aren’t exactly lonely. The rash of labor disputes has left Mulcahy wondering if the classical music academic experience shouldn’t include instruction on how to communicate; especially if it is something like a letter to your orchestra’s board.
What do you think? Observations referencing specific examples would be particularly interesting so if you can include a resource link in your comment, that would be particularly useful.