In a previous post we highlighted a YouTube video for the shampoo/hair products company Pantene featured a young deaf girl playing violin in a music competition. This “commercial for the viral video era” illustrated the future of advertising – the ability to engage hearts and minds, tell stories, and associate those popular snippets of media with your product – rather than simply 30 seconds on television telling people how wonderful your product or service might be.
This stunning video of a musical flash mob aboard the Copenhagen Metro in cooperation with Radio Klassik is another wonderful illustration of such an engaging short film, and nothing engages hearts and minds more effectively than music.
What I love most about the video are smiles on the faces of people of diverse ages and ethnicities, and the look of wonder and amazement on the faces of the young children.
When I was in college, I always kept a guitar or electric piano close by. When I needed a break from studying (or “cramming” in most cases), I found that the release of music for 15-20 minutes really helped re-charge my batteries, so to speak.
I attended the November meeting of the National Speakers Association New Orleans chapter yesterday, with featured speaker Scott Ginsberg, an amazing guy and a fellow guitar player. Scott is a prolific writer and professional speaker. He echoed those same semtiments regarding music. Scott picks up the guitar and plays when he needs a break from the computer.
We got into a discussion regarding why playing guitar (or any instrument) is such a great release. Here are some of the throughts that followed:
“Playing music allows me to:
- clear my mind”
- not have to think, or”
- think in a way that removes barriers and comes from a selfless place”
- express the best part of myself”
- be who I am”
- relax in a way that I can’t otherwise”
- lose myself”
Why do you play?
This week I attended “Camp NSA” for incoming chapter presidents of the National Speakers Association, a non-profit association for those in the professional speaking business. Here are a few of the common themes of the training and the lessons that can be applied to music:
The President of a chapter facilitates a board of directors. A facilitator, not a CEO. If coordinating the efforts of a band, regardless of whether or not you’re the self-appointed leader, your job is to create an environment where the talents of others come forward and shine. The singer might get the spotlight most often, but everyone gets a chance to demonstrate their expertise and get appreciation from the audience.
2. Conflict Resolution
In any group or organization, there are going to be conflicts that must be resolved. Avoid “triangulation,” where discussions are taking place behind the backs of members of the group. In bands there are egos and conflicts. Get agreement up front that encourages healthy debate among members, but remain unified once a decision is reached.
3. Make it a Positive Experience
Recruiting board members becomes increasingly difficult if the experiences of past board members have not been particularly positive, and the same is true of a band. Recognize members for their contributions, and ensure that they are enjoying the experience. Board members are often volunteer positions, and musicians don’t always make enough money for that to be the primary motivation for being in the band.
4. Learn From Experience
In a non-profit, boards should document past successes and failures for the benefits of future boards, otherwise you end up reinventing the wheel over and over again. Bands should take time to reflect on great gigs, songs, live shows, and merchandise to examine them so that they can replicate successes.
5. When kicking around ideas, be open-minded
Let new ideas come forward freely. Modify, offer suggestions, enhance, redefine, say “Let’s try this,” but don’t judge. Same for music. Let the band play around with new musical ideas so that several approaches have been tried. A new bass line or drum beat might cause you to look at a song from a completely different perspective.
We spend a lot of time justifying arts education from all different angles. That’s fine. But let’s not lose sight of what’s important. More and more in the future, as we see that our insatiable appetites for consumerism fail to satisy our hunger for happiness, our choices will be driven by quality of life determinations. Here’s what a colleague has to say about justifying the arts:
“In education, there is a connection between all of the pieces,” said Michael Guillot, former Vice-President for Patron Services and Chief Advancement Officer for the North Carolina Symphony. “Language, music, mathematics, and science are connected to our cognitive functioning. Any time I improve cognitive functioning in one place, odds are I’m going to get it in other places as well.
“But I’ve got to tell you, the other case we make is that in and of itself, art is worthy. If it had no effect on those others, it really wouldn’t matter. It is a pursuit of quality of life, of personal joy, of meaning…And I don’t want to get away from that.”
Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever.
- June Masters Bacher
It seems that vinyl albums are popping up in stores again these days. Indeed, I’ve heard from audiofiles that they prefer vinyl because although CD’s are a cleaner sound in terms of background noise, vinyl has a warmer feel and sound – Like you’re in the studio with the musicians when they were recording.
There were also aspects of the physical nature of the large album cover, photos or posters that were often included, and inserts or extensive liner notes that often accompanied vinyl albums.
Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book from my interview with Joe Santa Maria, a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Worchester, MA regarding the thril of vinyl:
“I can still remember that Christmas my mother got me the best gift in the world, The White Album,” he said. “The double records and the posters and the pictures. I can still remember coming home from Christmas. I couldn’t play the record. I got it, but then I couldn’t play it [until he came home later that day]. I had to walk around with it all day.”
He added, “Coming home Christmas night and crawling into bed and just looking at The White Album! Like ‘I’ve got The White Album!’ Looking at the lyrics and then just playing it really soft so no one could hear it. And to this day, it’s still my favorite album of all time.”
“That is missing from music now,” he said in reference to the purchase of tangible vinyl as opposed to digital downloads. “I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like, and I can’t wait to flip it over and stare at it while I’m listening to it. The bands don’t have that kind of lure to them. You had no money, so it was a big deal that you bought it. It was so much fun.”