Tiffany Chang




Posted by tiffanychang on September 28, 2020 at 12:30 AM

I've done a lot of recruiting in my career as a conductor. When I was a student, I recruited constantly for recitals and projects. I've recruited for the opera project I've been involved with for many years. Then I got jobs at universities and colleges, and guess what, I continued to recruit. I've always been annoyed at having to recruit. It would take so much time and effort away from what I wanted to do--studying and making music. Also, it was an act that kept playing with (or scratching at the scab that was) my vulnerability. What if someone says no? What does it mean when someone says no? Do they really have a "conflict" or do they just not want to? I never knew.


I thought that the recruiting would eventually end when there is built-in structure at a school or established organization. That was only partially true. The schools required recruiting to get people in the seats, not very different than when I was recruiting people for my own projects to get people in the seats. The professional organizations also need recruiting. The musicians just got paid (more), so it was technically easier, but it was still recruiting. And just because you pay them, it doesn't mean that you'll get your dream team.

I've come to realize that recruiting means that you have to think about the people that you want to be a part of your project. You'd have to think about what you want this project to be like, what it represents, and how it represents you as the recruiter/leader. You need to have a vision. Then you need to find the people that will fulfill that vision. How will they be an asset musically? What kind of attitude will they bring to the group? How will they contribute to the group? The latter questions I think are the more important ones.


I always thought, "I can't wait to finally be done with recruiting." But I realized that any project that I do at any level, I will have to recruit - because I care too much about the vision and what I want the experience to be like. I care too much about those things to be OK with just any group of people filling the seats. Now, I recruit groups of people who would further a cause, contribute to my narrative - people who would help realize the vision of a musical organization that exists only in my head.


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