Years ago when I worked at one of several companies in the Telecoms industry, I used to remember those big corporate meetings; and it almost seemed like the bigger the meeting was; the easier it was to not really focus, to dis-engage. Ofcourse I’m not saying it was You or I who would dis-engage, not be focussed.
And the tried, trusted cliche was the answer that we all learned to give at one of these companies, whenever someone was in a meeitng and got asked a question – and if You’re a certain age You might recognise this…
The answer goes, ” Errr I’m not sure, I’ll have to take that away and get back to You” – and all too often that would get the person off the hook, (not You Nor I ofcourse) and all too easily that action point would get forgotten about. Now You might be thinking it’s completely different in small companies, which I have also worked in – where You pretty much have to be on the ball, completely focussed all the time – there’s no where to hide on your side- especially if there’s only 1 or 2 of you at that meeting – in that case it’s more likely that You get caught up in different kinds of stress – something I call the Carry Over Effect – which i’m not going to go through here – that’s a topic for another time.
But this did get me thinking about Music Making – because we all know we’re not really in the information age – we’re drowning in the stuff – and it’s all too easy to get dis-engaged, and maybe even not know about it.
So what About Rock N Roll – or whatever Meaningfull Music Making happens to be for You
What If Music Making were a meeting… well I thought if it were like a big company meeting it might look like that picture above.
And then I remembered a quote from a Dr Thaut – a researcher into Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) which said ” The Brain which engages with Music is changed by engaging with Music”.
I thought about research from John Sloboda getting people from Sussex University to passively listen to meaningfull music from the soundtrack that shaped their lives – and how it was 50% that believed they had a massive transformation in the emotions they felt.
Is it Possible as the Dr Thaut quote suggests, that perhaps the other 50%, weren’t engaged. And to me that makes sense because it is much easier to be distracted when listening to music and not even notice, compared to actually your hands your eyes on your instrument, with You actually Playing isn’t it?
And this is why it is Meaningfull Music Making that is far more powerfull, way more effective for You than just Passive Music Listening – which is not YET widely known.
And then I started to think, well what about the exact opposite of Dr Thaut’s quote ? What about the Brain that continually dis-engages – whether that’s in big meetings, or elsewhere – does that change the brain,and likely in a different way, that might perhaps be not so usefull ?
I believe the answer is Yes that is possible – the same way we understand that a sedentary lifestyle, where You physically dis-engage from moving around is perhaps not the best thing for what i call our “neck down” health – I believe it follows that dis-engaging the mind, and not taking the time to be fully present, fully sensory aware is likely a part of the problem.
One of the things I have discovered, for example in teaching, training and coaching on Guitar, that getting the mind focus right is the most fundamental thing, even more so than actual playing – whether that’s guitar or any other instrument – and here is one of the reasons why?
One of the things that makes Music Making challenging and at the same time rewarding is that it happens in real time – this means there is no where to hide in Music, whereas You can in a meeting, or perhaps if You’re sat in an office staring at a computer screen, or on your iphone or similar – You can either engage or disengage and You or other people may or may not notice.
And this points to one of the reasons why Menaingfull Music Making, which challenges You and engages You is so very good for You – exactly because it does keep you present and fully engaged.
But here’s the challenge – You have to as Dr Thaut says ” really engage”, or learn and discern how to quickly become aware that You are dis-engaged so that You can quickly get re-engaged; another benefit of that is developing this skill means You can easily recover from any mistake you might make if You perform live, perhaps as part of a band – so that You can still end well, instead of trying to start again from the beginning.
And this going from dis-engaged to engaged, This is what I sometimes call getting out of life mode, into focussed Music Making Mode, where You are fully present as best as You can be – so that You do get the most out of all of Your music making – whatever that happens to be, whether its guitar oriented Rock,Blues, Indie styles from the 1960s to the Noughties- or whatever Meaningfull Music Making happens to be for You.
Because Yes You can hide in meetings, perhaps at your office desk even, but You can’t hide in Rock N Roll, or whatever Menaingfull Music Making happens to be for You.