A successful string quartet such as the Kronos Quartet can teach volumes on teamwork – lessons that would be invaluable to business leaders and working creatives for the simple reason that they are masters of communication. Their success is heavily dependent on their level of real-time collaborative communication.
In an interview with members of “A Far Cry”, a chamber orchestra that behaves more like a quarter than a symphony orchestra, Allison Eck discovered 9 vital lessons that we should all learn about the functioning of a healthy innovative team:
- Switch Roles Regularly
The musicians constantly sit or stand in different spots for every piece to give the audience some visual variety while allowing themselves to engage with the music in different ways throughout the concert.
Figuratively speaking, teams can “switch chairs” by letting new people take on leadership roles during meetings. The result will likely be a shift in the group’s collective personality, a newfound nimbleness, and a tolerance—even eagerness—for the unexpected. Via 99u
- Play Your Part
The musicians spend countless hours scrutinizing their individual parts so that they not only play their individual roles well but also to ensure their interpretation of the music is accurate. This requires a significant level of human thoughtfulness.
An oft-cited concern in the workplace is that people feel they’re not sharing their opinions frequently enough—or worse, that their opinions don’t mean anything. But worrying about the legitimacy of one’s contributions leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Instead, understand that interpretation is embedded in the nature of the job itself… Every aspect of the work requires your human intellect and emotional sagacity to seamlessly integrate your company’s moving parts. Via 99u
- Don’t Compare
Although any good musician will have several external influences, he or she will ultimately need to let go of comparisons and make the music personal.
This means you should remind yourself once in a while to just play the music. Put simply, stop comparing yourself to others and recall why, deep down, you care about the work in the first place. If someone is seemingly smarter or more talented than you are, accept your current limitations and work with what you’ve got (after all, that’s what the other person is doing, too). Via 99u
- Spend Your Energy Wisely
When a violist’s part is similar to that of the violin, the violist should put his or her energy into adding depth. In contrast, when a cellist’s part is a variation on the melody, he or she will try to echo the other instruments’ parts while giving it his or her own spin.
Non-musicians can ask themselves similar questions while at work. In what situations are my contributions most appreciated and most useful?… Knowing where to put your energy can save you from burnout—and it’ll be healthier for your team overall. Via 99u
- Anticipate Needs
Musicians need to watch one another intently so they can sense where they are taking the music and how the rest of the group should support that.
In non-musical settings, anticipation is part prediction, part preparation. You predict what the person is going to say (even if it ends up being totally off-base), and you prepare your response accordingly… You’re focusing on how to roll with whatever’s about to be said—not push against it. Via 99u
- Nominate – Don’t Assign
Members of A Far Cry are given the chance to nominate someone they think would be right for a specific project as opposed to having one person make such decisions.
Assignments in the workplace are pretty much unavoidable, but it helps to branch out from standard practices a little. Instead of relying on higher-ups to delegate tasks, or waiting for others to volunteer time, try nominating someone once in a while. Via 99u
- Check The Sound Regularly
Sound checks are necessary for musicians and involve walking to the back of the performance space or up the balcony to get an objective sense of how the group really sounds.
For your team, this means stepping out of your role and your personal needs for a minute, and surveying the project as a whole. A sound check means you can be frank: what is the most glaring thing that needs fixing? What would you say to inspire your colleagues to do better? Via 99u
- Know The Score
When there’s no conductor to point out changes in the melodic or harmonic structure, each musician must fully understand what other players are doing so they can fully understand what they need to do to enhance the overall performance.
Do you actually know what your colleagues work on all day? Make an effort to learn how the people around you spend their time: what’s their workflow like?… Truly understanding your colleagues’ responsibilities can help you forge new creative alliances with them. Via 99u
- Embrace Uncertainty
Because of the immediate, exacting and often emotional nature of music, musician’s self-restraint and passion need to be working at the same time.
We all want to take charge sometimes, but usually we can’t. It’s not our place, or we’re not in a position of power. But that’s okay—we can still take ownership of projects without overstepping professional boundaries. The hardest part comes in accepting this delicate balance, and being comfortable expressing oneself even within the confines of someone else’s vision. Via 99u
Featured Image: Image Credit
Now that’s teamwork ?? pic.twitter.com/Qn6qjs8GLD
— EPIC CLIPS ® (@EpicClips) January 16, 2016
I’m a big believer that #teamwork leads to success: We learn more when we learn together https://t.co/XfHQdKMtqr pic.twitter.com/jxZpMqvrYS
— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) January 14, 2016
Musicians take teamwork to a new level
Eighty-five young musicians appeared before three professional performing artists last weekend during the 12th annual Junior Chamber Music auditions. One by one they played two pieces of music to demonstrate their skill range and to help the adjudicators find a spot for them in the elite music training program.
“I remember when I walked in (for my first audition), I was extremely nervous,” said Amber Correa, 14, who auditioned five years ago. “I expected to see stone cold faces, but instead there was nothing but smiling faces, and I knew these people were going to be supportive no matter how I played.” Via OC Register
Teamwork: What Jazz Musicians Can Teach Us
Teamwork is tricky. Even when you have the right people on the team, you deal with different personalities, styles and competencies. With this in mind, how can teams succeed? The answer can be found in jazz music.
As I was reflecting on this question, I was reminded of my time playing jazz music. From a young age my parents had me involved in music. Quickly, I found that I enjoyed playing jazz music. There was something exhilarating about the creativity and collaboration on the jazz “team” that encouraged me. Jazz music taught me much about playing on a team of people.
Here are some of the teamwork lessons I learned from my time playing jazz music Via Hospitality Project
Handbell musicians use teamwork to put tones together
COLD SPRING — Once a week, in the basement of St. Boniface Church in Cold Spring, you can hear the clattering of bells and chimes, as the Handbell Choir rehearses for Mass and concerts.
You can also hear laughter as well as solid critiques on musicality and expression, technique and timing.
The choir is about two decades old, and some members have been around since the beginning. The group traditionally plays a Christmas concert, which has morphed into a community event.
The community concert is at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 at the church, which features the Cold Spring Area Maennerchor, choirs and ensembles from St. Boniface Church as well as Peace Lutheran Church. Via SC Times