There was a revealing moment in my recent session in Rio de Janeiro, my first time working with a Brazilian orchestra. At one point I modeled a dysfunctional conductor whose preoccupation with the movements of his baton had eclipsed his connection to the actual sound the musicians were producing. Of course […]Continue Reading
Have you seen The Godfather Part III, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino? Only an orchestra conductor with inside connections could know of the valuable lessons related to trust, leadership and eliminating layers of bureaucracy to be learned in the making of this classic film about betrayal, murder […]Continue Reading
What the Ebola Crisis Can Teach Us About Leadership
“You’ve got to pick a fight with some musician,” gruffly declared my conducting teacher. “Otherwise the orchestra won’t take you seriously.” And so, once in every other rehearsal, I’d watch him attack some defenseless player. You could hear a pin drop, the […]Continue Reading
Click here to read the full New York Times story from Sept. 17, 2014 by James Oestreich
There’s a Lesson Here; All You Have to Do Is Listen
Roger Nierenberg and the Music Paradigm Program
I couldn’t have been […]Continue Reading
Five Leadership Pointers from a Conductor
As a young conductor I was always amazed to witness how a great maestro could so quickly have such a transforming effect on an orchestra. Within minutes the music would come to life with a new vibrancy and spirit. It was like magic. I could find no other explanation […]Continue Reading
Last week, I delivered a Music Paradigm session to a group of 140 financial services executives. For 90 minutes they sat inside the orchestra. Then for a half-hour we all discussed what they had experienced, and how they might put their learning to use.
Many people spoke about the magical quality of hearing live music […]Continue Reading
In today’s competitive business environment every company is looking to stimulate innovation. But it’s not easy, particularly for large, successful organizations where norms and conventions have taken root.
Even the symphony orchestra, which routinely plays the most thrilling masterpieces ever conceived, is still susceptible to boredom and tedium. Indeed, without the guiding hand of an […]Continue Reading
What does a conductor do when the orchestra is simply not playing up to its capability?
The general public’s stereotype of a maestro’s behavior in this situation is based on Arturo Toscanini, whose temper tantrums on the podium during the 1950s were legendary. Listen, if you dare, to his rant, which climaxes in his storming […]Continue Reading
It’s rare that you get to see a spontaneous, black-and-white contrast between the effects of two different approaches to leadership. But it happened to me many years ago, and forever changed my ideas about the power of communicating vision to a workforce.
I had engaged a very good tenor to sing a beautiful Bach Cantata. […]Continue Reading
A leader can sometimes be blind to what is obvious to everyone else. I learned this more than 25 years ago when I guest-conducted one of the most famous American orchestras in the Rumble scene from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.
The Rumble is a violent piece, bursting with explosive, jagged syncopations. It’s tricky to […]Continue Reading