April 15, 2024

The joy of music played just for you

“In our experiment*, we instructed some orchestras to be mindful and make their performances subtly new each time they played. In contrast, we instructed other orchestras to replicate past performances with which they were pleased. We taped the performances and played the recordings for people unaware of the study. The results showed a strong preference for the mindful performances.

We found that when everyone was being mindful, doing their own thing and actively noticing new things about the music, a superior coordinated performance resulted.” from The Mindful Body, Ellen J. Langer.

What audiences really want isn’t ‘the best performance ever’ endlessly repeated, nor the ‘average of all past performances’. What they want is the joy of music, played just for them, in this moment, by people who are fully present.

Of course an orchestra has a score to follow – they don’t need to remember every note, every cue. This means they can be mindful about the venue, the acoustics, the audience and each other, and make their performance ‘subtly different’ to suit, without losing the consistency that is essential to repeated success. The score gives them a floor, below which they cannot fall. Mindfulness allows them to add their own humanity to that floor. It’s better for audiences, and it’s better for players. Both get more from the experience.

Is your business simply repeating the average of all past performances? The best ever? The worst ever? How do you even know?

Discipline makes Daring possible.

Ask me how.

*Read the research here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247733569_Orchestral_performance_and_the_footprint_of_mindfulness