Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts March 1998
Short Cuts:MAKING MUSIC TOGETHER
does it take to teach a packed audience of non-musicians to play a
few bars of Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony? Boris Brott can do it in about 10 minutes.
The conductor begins with a lively 25-minute presentation in
which he draws parallels between music and business, examining the
tenuous mix of teamwork and leadership, the need for creativity and
the joy of success. Then, he asks attendees to reach under their
seats to find a tone bar -- like a one-note xylophone. The audience
has been divided into five sections, each equipped with a different
note. After a few practice rounds, they've done it -- they're
playing classical music. And, more often than not, they stand and
applaud, clapping as much for themselves as for Brott.
Since 1991, this simple program has often called the conductor
away from his Hamilton, Ontario, home on assignments worldwide. In
his travels, he splits his time between leading symphony orchestras
as a "guest conductor" and leading corporate groups. (Brott is
represented by Vincent Lupiano in Oakland, N.J., 201-651-0747.) The
idea actually came from an IBM executive who watched Brott conduct
and asked if he would address IBM employees about the parallels
between businesses and symphony orchestras.
His tone-bar exercise in itself is a miniature model for how
successful businesses are run, says Brott. "It demonstrates the
skills of being part of a team. You have to listen, you have to
take direction from a team leader, and you have to take direction
from those around you."
But while the client might strive for business results, Brott
likes to reach his audience on a personal level. His greatest
compliment is when a participant tells him: "This has really
touched me." Equally fulfilling for Brott are the converts --
audience members who, "believe it or not, have come to classical
music as a result of this experience," he says.
It's not only classical music that's making an impression on
meeting groups of late. One World Music (888-663-9753) leads
several similar workshops. One, called "Synergy Through Samba," has
audiences of 20 to 500 cooking up a festive Brazilian beat. "Just
as the samba involves a creative tension between a march and a
dance, organizations contain inherent tensions between departments
that provide structure and direction and those that provide
opportunities for creativity and innovation," says Gary Muszynski,
founder and president of the Berkeley, Calif.-based company.
It's quite an achievement to get rhythm out of hundreds of
employees from the likes of Ford or Pacific Bell. Says Muszynski:
"The magic of going from cacophony to cohesion so quickly is the
musical equivalent of landing a man on the moon." * LOREN G.
EDELSTEIN WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MAKE TO THE ACADEMY AWARDS
"I wouldn't let anyone cut off Frank Sinatra. Also, I'd make the
nominees send in ahead of time the names of people they'd want to
thank if they win. Then, when the winners are at the podium making
their other comments, those names can be run on the screen for the
Melanie Dawson Jackson, CMP
"I would restrict the speeches to a maximum of one minute. I'm
sure that would make it more interesting and appealing to the
audience. Fast-paced programs keep people's attention."
Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
"I would cut some of the categories. At my convention, I have
just the right number: three. But you can't really equate my
convention with the Academy Awards."
Senior Meeting Planner
American Psychiatric Association
Back to Current Issue index
| Back to Short Cuts indexM&C
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C