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Must Be Why They Call It the Pit

“A Harvard Business School study looked at job satisfaction. Orchestra players came just below prison guards. Chamber musicians came in at number 1. What’s the difference? The presence of a conductor.”

Boston Philharmonic Conductor Ben Zander, speaking at Leaders in London 2007


Comment from mike jolkovski
Time: December 22, 2007, 9:51 am

Do you have a citation for this study? i couldn’t find it by following the link.

This makes so much sense it’s hard to add anything to it.

Comment from Frank Hecker
Time: December 22, 2007, 10:07 am

The best reference I could find is the article “Life and Work in Symphony Orchestras: An Interview with J. Richard Hackman”, by Paul R. Judy (Harmony, number 2, April 1996, p.1-13). This is available on the web, just google for it. Hackman is the Harvard professor who did the studies.

Also related in the article “Leadership Ensembles” from Fast Company magazine (issue 34, April 2000, p.26), which references Hackman’s results and promotes the “conductorless orchestra” Orpheus as a potential model for business organizations. This is available on the web as well.

Comment from Frank Hecker
Time: December 22, 2007, 10:15 am

Just to add a point: It turns out that in the study symphony orchestra musicians actually scored highest of the groups studied on the measure of internal motivation, and were in the middle of the pack on measures of overall satisfaction and growth opportunities. They have it good in comparison to operating room nurses, members of amateur theater companies, semiconductor fabrication teams, and hockey players.

Comment from andrea
Time: December 22, 2007, 5:34 pm

I’m sorry, but that’s really funny coming from Mr. Zander. I have yet to meet a musician who’s had something positive to say about him.

Comment from Rodney Lister
Time: December 22, 2007, 9:47 pm

My first thought was in agreement with Andrea—having had dealings with him of various sorts for years.

Comment from Walter Ramsey
Time: December 23, 2007, 9:27 am

Then let me be the first to say that I love his Mahler 5th recording, with accompanying lecture, which is informational and inspirational, and communicates a love and udnerstanding of the music!

Walter Ramsey