Crossing Communication

Within the organisational whole of an orchestra, various departments (working on different elements) function to bring projects to life. However, the communication between departments – particularly between orchestral musicians and managerial staff – is limited. In fact, often there is a lack of trust – or simply a lack of familiarity – between departments, which can hinder the collaborative process of projects.

As orchestras seek to experiment with new projects that require different tasks from musicians and staff, the dividing lines between departments begin to break down – yet in the thrum of movement and chaos that grows as projects develop, there is rarely time to build relations of trust between staff.

This etude therefore proposes two workshops which create a space for inter-departmental connectivity – specifically between musicians and managerial staff – where communication can be practiced and developed.


  • Within a programme year, staff directors need to set aside time for two inter-departmental workshops, ideally at the beginning of each year/season.
Workshop no. 1
  • Staff and Musicians discuss moments in previous projects where communication was disruptive – for example, when instructions were unclear or when individuals felt un-heard or unacknowledged. Members from both groups prepare a list of what they feel requires understanding or recognition.
  • Musicians and staff then practice being both the ‘sender’ and the ‘receiver’ of the list and practice listening.
  • Both groups then collate relevant insights and what can be improved regarding communication and awareness.
Workshop no. 2
  • Theatre games and singing can help to bring down the barrier individuals feel with each other, and theatre companies often use such techniques to build a sense of closeness within a cast.
  • Therefore, with the aid of a colleague or coach, musicians and staff engage in a workshop regarding self-expression and group bonding: including theater games and singing.
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