Thursday, March 15, 2007

Making musical sense by email, part 1

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I like both system dynamics and classical music. Recently I've been in a conversation with Greg Sandow that involved both subjects, and I thought you might like to read about it:

  • Those of you interested in classical music and the classical music business might find the subject matter of direct interest.
  • Those of you charged with understanding and solving problems (I suppose that's all of you) might find our approach of interest.

Greg writes a blog on the future of classical music. He's also a composer, consultant to orchestras, author, and music critic. In addition, he teaches at Julliard and keeps himself busy in other ways.

He's been writing a series of blog essays called "Where we stand," which he's summarized and linked to in "The short version." I found those essays fascinating, for they paint his picture of what the classical music business faces over the next few years, and he offers his reasoning to understand his predictions.

As part of my making sense of his story, I wanted to see if I could "operationalize" his ideas: could I create a model that represented his hypotheses reasonably in both structure and behavior? The process might help me understand them better, it might help me test them, and it might find limits to their application.

Instead of telling you what we did, let me show you. Over the next several days, I'll post lightly edited copies of the emails Greg and I exchanged. That will give you the flavor of what we experienced. At the end, I'll provide my interpretation of what you read. I welcome your contribution to the dialog all along the way. While you're waiting for this to start, I encourage you to explore the links in this posting, for there's a wealth of information to be found.

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