When Orchestra Plays Mindfully

An interesting interview with the renowned Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer on mindfulness, innovativeness and authenticity. Prof. Langer characterized mindfulness as the simple process of noticing new things. Noticing new things keeps us in the present, makes us sensitive to context and perspective and helps us being engaged … and authentic.
She described a research, where they had an orchestra playing their piece mindfully and also mindlessly. The result was that “when the pieces are played mindfully, the symphonic orchestra members not only enjoy what they are doing, but that mindfulness seems to leave its imprint on the product they produce. … So that you seem more attractive to other people, you are feeling better and more engaged and enjoying your work and the thing you are doing ends up prospering. So it is win-win-win!”

Our clients have an opportunity to experience the same impact on the final result/product, when they attend our MusicTouch workshop.

You can watch the interview here.

“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.”

James Baldwin

Is Music Metaphor Better Than The Sport One?

“Are sports teams the most appropriate examples for today’s work team?” Interesting answer to this question brings the Forbes’ article Sick Of Sports: Why Rock Bands Are A Better Metaphor For Work Teams. Its author Ruth Blatt writes often about social science behind rock’n’roll music. And her answer here is a clear NO.
In sports, as Blatt writes in the article, there are clear winners and losers, there are rarely changing rules, or customer needs and expectations, and the organizational setup is stable.
But in real life, most organizational teams’ success depends on their creativity and adaptation to constant change. Instead of winning above competition, the most important is meeting the need of their customers – and only through that to beat their competition. And that means responding rapidly to challenges and opportunities.
On the other hand, rock music bands metaphor is much closer to the real life, as they create new products (concerts, recordings, videos) and they sell them in the marketplace. They also have to satisfy stakeholders, be it their audience, their peers, and critics. Rock musicians must generate revenue and constantly innovate to stay relevant.
Blatt summarizes her thoughts stating, “As exciting as it is to watch a great sports team, organizational teamwork is more complex than the playing field. By focusing on winning and losing, the sports metaphor narrows what we can ultimately accomplish.”