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Sexual Harassment: Are Our Music Organizations Doing Enough?

October 25, 2017

Dear Musicians --

Over the last several weeks, we've had our attention called to more mega-celebs, who have abused their power by pressuring men and women to indulge them in sexual gratification in return for the promise of work on-camera.  Many instances of this occur in the film industry, but we know it happens in every work environment.  It happens in business, politics, in the medical practice, in education, and in blue collar environments.  Wherever people are in power, there can be some unbalanced person who will use that power to gratify personal urges.  

In the performing arts, this abusive coercion has victimized not only women, but men and children.  Actors like Corey Feldman, who began as a child actor, has been speaking out about pedophilia in the film industry for many years.  It does seem that people are beginning to take notice and take a stand in Hollywood.  Many more actors, both men and women, are committing themselves to speak up and stand with those who are being pressured or harassed.

But what about the Music community?  Orchestras?  Opera companies?  Professional choral groups?  Are they doing enough to quash internal actions that may cause musicians to feel uncomfortable in doing their jobs?  I, for one, have never seen a written policy from any musical organization with whom I have been contracted, regarding sexual harassment or what is now called a "hostile working environment."  

The musicians' union, AGMA, does have a very clear, written policy.  It defines both "sexual harassment" and "hostile work environment."  It allows for any member of AGMA to make an anonymous complaint to the union, should they ever feel the need.  AGMA acknowledges that this may not be enough for individuals to feel completely shielded from retribution, but it is a strong measure of legal protection.

What about young artists, and others, who are not union members?  What protects them from backstage harassment or such lewd behavior from another that it creates an uncomfortable or "hostile" work environment?  Does one go to the company Administration?  What if it is the Administration who is the perpetrator?

It is possible that music organizations do have inter-office policy that addresses such issues.  But I haven't seen any that extend this policy beyond the office and into the production environment.  I would like to see a phrase or sentence about this policy in every contract signed by artistic personnel. While it is doubtful this would eliminate all problems of this nature, it would be an important step toward informing artists that this sort of behavior is not acceptable.  It would be a way of calling artists' attention to the issue; and by signing the contract, they would be pledging to abstain from participating in bad behavior.  I see it as an informal, first step, as I would not suggest including all sorts of terms and definitions, or specific punitive actions.  Just enough language to say, "Hey artists, don't go there."

An awful lot of non-union people parade in and out of rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, and backstage areas.  This can include young children, as well.  I believe this is something to think about.  


 

Your Healthcare at Risk? Ohio's Issue 2

October 18, 2017

Hello, Musicians!

As the old adage goes, "When you have your health, you have everything."  But if your health depends on prescription medications that are too expensive to buy, you may be in a lot of trouble.  For a musician, it can be a serious situation, because for many of us, when illness prevents us from working, our income is diminished. 

As you probably know, Issue #2, on Ohio's November ballot, could affect prescription drug costs for Ohioans.  With the various angles represented in TV and radio ads, I personally have found it difficult to fully understand the issue, and what it means for myself and my family.  A fellow musician and attorney led me to three articles from the Columbus Dispatch, which lay out the information in fairly plain English.  It provides an argument FOR Issue #2, and an argument AGAINST Issue #2.  And, finally, it relays the position taken by the Columbus Dispatch, and the reasoning behind their stance.

Below, is a link to Issue #2, as it will be presented on the ballot.  Below that, you will find the links to the three Dispatch articles.  I hope this information will help you as you vote this November 7, 2017.  I wish you much music and merry-making through the coming holidays!

-- Susan Schwarz

******************************************************************

Issue 2:  Link

Dispatch NO argument: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171016/should-ohioans-support-drug-price-relief-act-no

Dispatch YES argument: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171016/should-ohioans-support-drug-price-relief-act-yes

Dispatch Official Position on Issue 2: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171018/editorial-ohioans-should-vote-no-on-issue-2

New, online website:  MUSICIANS DIRECTORY

March 24, 2017

** FOUNDING MEMBERSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE NOW!  CLICK HERE FOR INFO. **

 

Brief description:

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY will consist of individual pages, or "mini websites" for each member musician.  The DIRECTORY website will be open to the public, with password access and editing capabilities for members.  These pages will allow musicians to add:

  • Contact info
  • Biographical and artistic info
  • Teaching studio details
  • Personal photo
  • Links to sound files and other websites
  • Events calendar info

The individual pages will comprise the larger Directory.  The intent for the Directory is to provide a centralized listing of musicians, so that it eliminates the need to remember where everyone is teaching or working, in order to find email addresses and phone numbers to contact them.  Musicians will be required to confirm or update their contact info on an annual basis, to ensure the usefulness of the Directory.

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY also will serve to promote the online community of musicians.  It will be presented to local individuals and organizations who are looking to hire singers and instrumentalists.  Further, it will list businesses and service providers, as well as collaborative artists (dancers, actors, poets, film-makers, etc) to assist musicians in their day-to-day needs, and in their multi-dimensional projects.  

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY is designed to be very affordable, with memberships starting at $5.99/month.  

For more information, click on the MUSICIANS DIRECTORY tab.

Sexual Harassment: Are Our Music Organizations Doing Enough?

October 25, 2017

Dear Musicians --

Over the last several weeks, we've had our attention called to more mega-celebs, who have abused their power by pressuring men and women to indulge them in sexual gratification in return for the promise of work on-camera.  Many instances of this occur in the film industry, but we know it happens in every work environment.  It happens in business, politics, in the medical practice, in education, and in blue collar environments.  Wherever people are in power, there can be some unbalanced person who will use that power to gratify personal urges.  

In the performing arts, this abusive coercion has victimized not only women, but men and children.  Actors like Corey Feldman, who began as a child actor, has been speaking out about pedophilia in the film industry for many years.  It does seem that people are beginning to take notice and take a stand in Hollywood.  Many more actors, both men and women, are committing themselves to speak up and stand with those who are being pressured or harassed.

But what about the Music community?  Orchestras?  Opera companies?  Professional choral groups?  Are they doing enough to quash internal actions that may cause musicians to feel uncomfortable in doing their jobs?  I, for one, have never seen a written policy from any musical organization with whom I have been contracted, regarding sexual harassment or what is now called a "hostile working environment."  

The musicians' union, AGMA, does have a very clear, written policy.  It defines both "sexual harassment" and "hostile work environment."  It allows for any member of AGMA to make an anonymous complaint to the union, should they ever feel the need.  AGMA acknowledges that this may not be enough for individuals to feel completely shielded from retribution, but it is a strong measure of legal protection.

What about young artists, and others, who are not union members?  What protects them from backstage harassment or such lewd behavior from another that it creates an uncomfortable or "hostile" work environment?  Does one go to the company Administration?  What if it is the Administration who is the perpetrator?

It is possible that music organizations do have inter-office policy that addresses such issues.  But I haven't seen any that extend this policy beyond the office and into the production environment.  I would like to see a phrase or sentence about this policy in every contract signed by artistic personnel. While it is doubtful this would eliminate all problems of this nature, it would be an important step toward informing artists that this sort of behavior is not acceptable.  It would be a way of calling artists' attention to the issue; and by signing the contract, they would be pledging to abstain from participating in bad behavior.  I see it as an informal, first step, as I would not suggest including all sorts of terms and definitions, or specific punitive actions.  Just enough language to say, "Hey artists, don't go there."

An awful lot of non-union people parade in and out of rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, and backstage areas.  This can include young children, as well.  I believe this is something to think about.  


 

Your Healthcare at Risk? Ohio's Issue 2

October 18, 2017

Hello, Musicians!

As the old adage goes, "When you have your health, you have everything."  But if your health depends on prescription medications that are too expensive to buy, you may be in a lot of trouble.  For a musician, it can be a serious situation, because for many of us, when illness prevents us from working, our income is diminished. 

As you probably know, Issue #2, on Ohio's November ballot, could affect prescription drug costs for Ohioans.  With the various angles represented in TV and radio ads, I personally have found it difficult to fully understand the issue, and what it means for myself and my family.  A fellow musician and attorney led me to three articles from the Columbus Dispatch, which lay out the information in fairly plain English.  It provides an argument FOR Issue #2, and an argument AGAINST Issue #2.  And, finally, it relays the position taken by the Columbus Dispatch, and the reasoning behind their stance.

Below, is a link to Issue #2, as it will be presented on the ballot.  Below that, you will find the links to the three Dispatch articles.  I hope this information will help you as you vote this November 7, 2017.  I wish you much music and merry-making through the coming holidays!

-- Susan Schwarz

******************************************************************

Issue 2:  Link

Dispatch NO argument: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171016/should-ohioans-support-drug-price-relief-act-no

Dispatch YES argument: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171016/should-ohioans-support-drug-price-relief-act-yes

Dispatch Official Position on Issue 2: http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171018/editorial-ohioans-should-vote-no-on-issue-2

New, online website:  MUSICIANS DIRECTORY

March 24, 2017

** FOUNDING MEMBERSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE NOW!  CLICK HERE FOR INFO. **

 

Brief description:

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY will consist of individual pages, or "mini websites" for each member musician.  The DIRECTORY website will be open to the public, with password access and editing capabilities for members.  These pages will allow musicians to add:

  • Contact info
  • Biographical and artistic info
  • Teaching studio details
  • Personal photo
  • Links to sound files and other websites
  • Events calendar info

The individual pages will comprise the larger Directory.  The intent for the Directory is to provide a centralized listing of musicians, so that it eliminates the need to remember where everyone is teaching or working, in order to find email addresses and phone numbers to contact them.  Musicians will be required to confirm or update their contact info on an annual basis, to ensure the usefulness of the Directory.

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY also will serve to promote the online community of musicians.  It will be presented to local individuals and organizations who are looking to hire singers and instrumentalists.  Further, it will list businesses and service providers, as well as collaborative artists (dancers, actors, poets, film-makers, etc) to assist musicians in their day-to-day needs, and in their multi-dimensional projects.  

The MUSICIANS DIRECTORY is designed to be very affordable, with memberships starting at $5.99/month.  

For more information, click on the MUSICIANS DIRECTORY tab.

Anahata Music Project, LLC

Contact:  Susan Schwarz, CEO and Managing Director

1340 Inglis Ave., Columbus, OH 43212-3556  P:  614.499.4132   E: susanmillardschwarz@gmail.com

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