My husband and I happened to be in Minneapolis a month ago just as the Minnesota Orchestra was beginning its 2019-2020 season, and we went to the opening concert. The concert, with music by Rautavaara, Grieg, Carter, and Elgar, opened with The Star-Spangled Banner, and all 1800 people in the audience immediately rose to their feet and began singing. Minnesota has a strong choral tradition, everyone sang at full voice, and the sound of those 1800 voices nearly lifted me off my feet. It was an emotional experience, and even though I didn’t know anyone there, the singing together of the national anthem made me feel part of a larger community. And, in fact, studies show that people who make music together are more likely to cooperate and feel more connected as a group.
The business world has long been aware of “connectedness through music” and has used string quartets as examples of “self-management teams.” Many string quartets supplement their musical performance schedules with presentations to companies and organizations exploring teamwork, problem solving, reliability, trust, discipline, and flexibility within the quartet as an example of how an excellent small team works. You hear the result of that group “connectedness” in the music as they perform. Success depends on an extraordinary level of teamwork. Continue reading