Art of Conversation and Music
ART OF CONVERSATION AND MUSIC.
Have you ever gone to a group event-not knowing one person there and come home wishing you knew more about the people you met?
Perhaps you are hosting or leading a great group event coming up and wondering how you will connect these people initially? Perhaps you are a choir/Music Director wanting new members to feel welcome. Perhaps you realise that the group participants of the group event you are holding, choir or music group are very clicky and you wish to find a way to open them up to new ways of thinking and being. You desire that everyone feels comfortable- those people who seem to have mastered the art of being’ out there’ but are not really, and those people who prefer to connect with others slowly and feel safe.
Connecting the participants is all important in successfully hosting or leading a group. There are countless approaches, but why not try this approach as it can be a great non-threatening way for a group of people to be introduced if you think about it carefully beforehand. .So why not experiment with this approach-it is important not to rush this step as you prepare for your group event.
As the host or leader your aim is for each person to attentively listen as the other person introduces himself/herself. If this aim is achieved, then your group activity is more likely to be successful as people will have connected.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU APPROACH
1. Divide your group into pairs. You may suggest to the group that each person talk about something specific about themselves (e.g. 3 interests in their lives) or you may choose to allow the conversation to unfold naturally.
2 As a pair, each person has 2 minutes each to introduce himself/herself. (i.e. allow at least 4 minutes for this phase of the exercise).
3. Then bring the group back together and choose a pair and ask one of the pair to introduce the person to whom he/she has been speaking. After each person of the pair has been introduced, check with the other person for accuracy and any other details that were missed. It is important that you ask the person being introduced if he/she felt it was accurate introduction as no one wishes to feel misrepresented and you, as the host or leader of the group want your group to get to know each other. As leader/host of the group, you can also observe personalities of the participants. Be aware of the confident people who may speak for their partner. Be aware of the quieter person who may allow someone to speak for them. Both these behaviours demonstrate communication patterns which are less helpful.
The key to successful introduction is to allow enough time- both as each person introduces himself/herself in a pair and allowing time for checking for accuracy of details. Then depending on how many in your group, each pair needs an opportunity to introduce and be introduced. No one wants to be left out.
The other advantage of this method is that it can be adapted and can be used not as an introduction method but as a means to improve communication within a group- both listening and speaking. For example: if it was used in the choir setting, the choir director could choose a number of people at random to check how well instructions are being interpreted especially if he/she thought the group were switching out to instructions. It could be tailored to be specific about a particular passage of music to invite different choir members to interpret the music they are learning and to use the appropriate music vocabulary.
The skill of being able to introduce people well and connecting people seems to have been forgotten and yet, when it is done well, it can form wonderful relationships.
The general rule of thumb for good manners is to provide the person with the name of the other person and then vice versa as it gives each person respect and also another chance to hear the name of the person again. How many times have you been introduced when the name is mentioned once, and you are no wiser to the name of the person?
The other key aspect is to provide some information about the person to the person being introduced and vice versa. This then helps both people with an insight into the other person. The other person can pick up on it and has an opening for a conversation. For example I met Jane as we are in the same choir. She has a lovely voice and sings with the sopranos whereas I sing with the altos or Jane has a passion for being healthy so now Jane is helping me get fit by walking 3 times a week together.
Obviously, you need to choose your information carefully as you do not wish to tell others something that they do not others to know. We need to respect their privacy too.
INTRODUCTIONS AND MUSIC.
Why is this art of communication a blog post on what is essentially a music site? Apart from the reasons for my tag line which I have discussed in previous posts, the other major reason is that music connects people. If we are in a choir, a band, a small ensemble- anywhere there are people there needs to be good communication patterns for the group to grow and be nurtured. Good performers are often in synch with the other performers. They can feel the other person breathe, take an unexpected pause and adjust accordingly. Whether it is a duo or a huge choir, synchronicity can elevate the performance to a whole different level. There is the intangible element which may not be named but it is likely to be felt from the audience.
I discuss this in more detail in my podcast episode ‘’art of conversation and Music’’ and use Nocturne in E flat Major op 9 by Chopin and Impromptu in A flat Major no 4 Op 9 as examples of how music can be used as a conversation starter.
Why not check out this podcast episode.