February 1, 2017
In high school I picked up the bass guitar (well, actually it was the instrument nobody else wanted to play) and started jamming with some friends. It was a great time; we rehearsed a lot, actually got pretty good, and played a number of parties.
Then life kicked in, I played a little from time-to-time, but for the most part, the bass guitar and all the equipment was packed away. About 5 or 6 years ago all the equipment was pulled back out, dusted off, a few key parts updated, and I was jamming again.
The difference today though? I have to fit practice around my work life. So, as I put a wrap on practice and rehearsal this week for the largest live rock show I have ever played, I have been reflecting on how playing music and being in a garage band shapes my day-to-day at work life.
- I always look for ways to pull everyone together. I don’t always get to pick the song the band plays. Often true in my work life too, I don’t always get to pick the goals to be accomplished. Although the bass and I sort of got stuck with each other, I have come to appreciate its two important values; rhythmic and harmonic foundation. Rhythm is about time and moving forward. Harmony is about being together. Just like being the bass player, my workday is all about moving us forward, together.
- The band rehearsal is no place for me to be practicing. I practice alone, in my garage, and I use Google, YouTube, and tips from other musicians to prepare. When I do this (and others have done the same), we get through the first pass of a song pretty well. Our group will then focus on making a good song, great. In business, I make sure to research the topics beforehand. Yes, I use Google and YouTube as well, and I get tips from other business associates. You guessed it, when we all do this we get through our meetings pretty well. Showing up well prepared, we can invest all our time in making something good, great.
- Nobody gets to the end of a song alone; everyone finishes together, no matter what. Mistakes are going to happen, I will make them or somebody else will. The great musicians know this and actually live in a space where they are ready to transform a mistake into the music they are playing. It is a creative tension, most often called improvisation. I suspect in business these days, its best-called ‘pivot’. Its naive to think people will not make mistakes, myself included, at work. Therefore, nobody gets to the end of a work effort alone; everyone finishes it together, no matter what!
No doubt, about it, music is a huge part of my life. It will be crazy standing in front of 450 to 650 people in a few days to play. I have practiced though, the band is well rehearsed, and no matter what we will do great. Monday, after the show, I will return to work with a fresh lens to look through, more aware of pulling people together and better prepared for the tasks at hand. Our team will get through the work together; we will do great things, no matter what!
Want to watch Tom’s band, Northern Cross, perform? Check out ” Teach your children” and “Heart of Gold” on YouTube.