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Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will

Apr 3, 2018

Being agreeable meant going with whatever mix happened to be in Ranjith's in-ear monitor when he started playing in his church band. That meant that sometimes during rehearsal and performance, Ranjith couldn't hear each musician playing with him, and that sometimes he couldn't discern percussion from bass, vocals from his keyboard.

When he decided to try adjusting the mix, and not just going with whatever was coming through his small earbud, he was suddenly aware of what he was missing. He was only hearing part of the story. As a result of the improved, more balanced mix, his performance improved. Not only could he better hear all musicians participating, he could feel the music as a whole, instead of separate parts, giving him a much better understanding and appreciation of the energy of the musicians, and what the audience was hearing and responding to.

We've all heard or read analogies about how music can be applied to the workplace, like when a symphony is well conducted so all parts, all instruments are in the same place in the sheet music. But when we talk about Ranjith's experience, that analogy takes on a whole different rhythm. It's not just about each person playing her part, or about the conductor making clear movements for the musicians to follow; it's about each musician listening - and being able to hear - all other musicians.

Are you getting the whole mix in your monitor? Or are you listening to small pieces of the story or music, and missing what could be an important aspect of the discussion?

In this podcast, Ranjith and I had a great conversation about how we apply our music performance to other parts of our professional lives.