After spending many years playing bass in the Boston Pops Orchestra, and even playing in the Boston Symphony here and there, there was this nagging question that would not go away: Why were a few rare conductors so much better at leading the orchestra than so many others? In particular, what was it that made Arthur Fiedler the most successful conductor ever, for 50 straight years? This last question was particularly vexing, given that Arthur was below average in almost every way, and possessed none of the attributes most people think a great conductor should have.
This cognitive dissonance led to reading up on Toyota Lean and Peter Drucker, trying to find answers. While there are many conductors on the lecture circuit offering management and leadership advice, I offer books, articles, and live presentations with a very at different take on management, i.e., from a bass player’s perspective.
About me: I grew up on a farm in Ohio, and my main claims to fame (along with playing bass in the Boston Pops for 18 years, and still working on the TV shows thereof), are my books:
“Real Men Don’t Rehearse” — a humorous collection of gig disaster stories) and
“Principles of Applied Stupidity.” This latter is an explanation of how the top conductors do what they do.
About the title of “Principles”: simply stated, we grow up in school, learning the broad cultural dogma that “smart” is universally good, and “stupid” is universally bad. I challenge this concept. Many things that we label as “stupid” behavior in academic settings are actually extremely effective management tools, and are in fact what the top conductors all did.
A little podcast excerpt (thank you Chris Smit):
Then there are the “kid shows”– Peter VS. the Wolf and The Phantom of the Orchestra. These programs are performed by orchestras all over the world. Publishing them all these years has led to a lot of thought on the topic of “Arts education.”
And finally– my “speaking thing.” I am always eager for any opportunity to stand up and tell my fun stories and share these unorthodox theories of management. So if you if you are casting about for guest speakers for your next management training session, and especially if you are looking for something different and unusual, here I am. (And of course, the stories from “Real Men Don’t Rehearse” are universally appealing– see below.) I am also happy to appear as a guest on podcasts.
So do feel free to call me at 781 330 8143 or email me at justin firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for reading! – JL
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