6 Music Terms for Team Building and Leadership

Publié le 25 jan. 2015
Music is the ideal vehicle for Team building and Leadership. It touches us, shapes us, connects us to others. And helps us to raise key questions... Decoding 6 terms from the musical vocabulary.

Crescendo... Virtuosity

  • The orchestral Crescendo is among the most exhilarating of experiences. Consider the Overture to Wilhelm Tell by Rossini. This work of music is punctuated by grand crescendos. The demanding work, the details ceaselessly reworked during the rehearsals, the accumulated tension all come to a culmination on opening night. The wonderful feeling of going from dressing room to dressing room with warm wishes of "Toi Toi Toi". The strength of professional accomplishment during the performance. The feeling of fulfillment when acknowledging the colleague sharing your orchestra stand after the applause dies down.

  • So yes, technical mastery, dexterity and self-confidence are all important. This is why Maurice Ravel experienced so much physical pleasure when playing terribly difficult pieces that he made his scores intentionally cluttered. Pierre Boulez, on the other hand, gave another definition for Virtuosity: "The pleasure of endangering oneself.” Through flexibility, the breathing, the letting it be. Which springs must be engaged so that a team within a company discovers this joy that comes from surpassing itself?

A Baton or a Tuning fork ?

  • Lead with the Baton! That is an erroneous expression both in music and inside a company. The baton has a very practical purpose : to maintain precision and fluidity. For a full orchestra of more than 40 musicians, the baton is a much clearer point of reference than a hand. Try it yourself: move your right hand around like a baton. Which of the five fingers should one follow? As an extension of the arm, the baton offers expansive and clearly visible instructions, yet it does so with a great deal of economy for the wrist without causing mimetic discomfort to the musicians.

  • However, we forgo it when conducting small ensembles or choirs. Which are the types of management behavior, which through their precision and economy create trust and a sense of ease within a large team? Which ones are more appropriate for smaller teams?

  • The tuning fork allows a choir director to give singers their starting pitch from the note A. In 1939, it was set to A = 440 vibrations. This means that, until then, its tone varied greatly. During the Baroque era, a C note would be about one and a half tones higher in Hamburg than in Paris. The same happened in Rome, New York, or Shanghai… In today's orchestras, it has continued to rise, because the resulting sound is so much brighter. Still, many ensembles returned to 440 because the resulting tension was too much for the instruments, for the instrumentalists and for the singers' voices. For example, to Mozart, the famous high F notes in the Queen of the Night sounded a semitone lower than what singers are asked to perform nowadays. Professional musicians have sufficient talent and technical resources to play brilliantly without always having to perform at their limit. It is the conductor's duty to create a level of comfort in terms of performance that allows instrumentalists to take risks in their interpretation. What about for leaders and managers ?

The Feeling of Harmony

  • In the beginning, there was sound. Since the Big Bang, the universe is fuelled by a great vibration of sound waves. We are precipitates of vibrations. Once they reach the brain, these vibrations of the body create Emotions. They are as crucial to us as air and water. When we function in the context of multiple intelligences, with the resources of our reasoning enhanced by emotions, we don't need to be scientists to see that we are at our best. Music is the art that bring us most closely in touch with our emotions. The professionalism of a musician lies in continually bringing their emotions and imagination in dialogue with their technical ability and mastery—as well as with their limitations. Developing this, however, is often difficult. This is the virtue of learning, a lifelong process.

  • Harmony is the art of superimposing different melodic lines. For the listener, the result is so powerful that the entirety of western music has evolved around harmony. What is it that brings harmony about? Harmony lays down rules for the coexistence of consonant and dissonant sounds, for each succession of tension and its release. It organizes a balanced operation among all these vibrations that stir us. The great orchestra conductor Daniel Barenboim expresses this as follows: "The most difficult lesson for human beings—to learn to live with discipline, yet also with passion, with freedom, yet also in a manner that is organized—is evident in every single musical phrase."

Perhaps you say to yourself: in these six terms for musical team building and leadership in music, why was there no mention of the most obvious one, listening ? More articles to follow...

By Guy Perier, Orchestral conductor / Team building and Leadership Development through Music for the blog www.team-buildig-musique.com

Guy Perier

Chef d'orchestre § Orchestrateur de Leadership

Sur des enjeux de leadership ou de cohésion d’équipes, notamment multiculturelles, j’accompagne dirigeants et managers dans un double objectif : des performances individuelles et collectives plus généreuses.

Guy Perier

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