Friday, April 10, 2009

Business and life lesson from an Orchestra

Most people today enjoy listening to music, albeit singers, bands or a full orchestra. To me in orchestral music we can learn much about how to run an effective business. So what is an orchestra? 

An orchestra - an instrumental ensemble, usually fairly large with string, brass, woodwind sections, and possibly a percussion section as well. The term orchestra derives from the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus. The orchestra grew by accretion throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but changed very little in composition during the course of the twentieth century. 

In a growing business concern either through employees or contractors you as the owners work to create an organization to accomplish the mission of servicing your customers and/or clients. An orchestra performs a work of music for their audience (customers/clients). So, what lessons are here? 

  • A conductor – leads the orchestra in performance and rehearsals, determining as the leader the musical works being performed as well as the tempo (speed and rhythm) at which the work will be performed.
  • An orchestra exists to perform music – not engineering, law, auto repair – they are focused.
  • An musician plays from common sheet music
  • Each instrument in the organization has a unique sound and make no effort to serve in other rolls albeit vocal, winds, wood wind, string, percussion (does not pretent to be what isit not)
  • Each instrument has its own strengths and limitations
  • Each instrument works to compliment the others in the orchestra
  • All orchestra members practice to ensure a professional performance
  • Each musician learns to master their instrument before joining the orchestra
  • Each musician follows the first chair, section leader and ultimately the conductor
  • Each musician learns to read sheet music if only by sight and follow what it dictates
  • Each musician understands the importance of keeping their commitments
  • No member works to outshine the group unless the music calls for is and only when asked to do so
  • Each member agrees to the uniform of the organization
  • Even when performing in unison the musicians play within the range octaves of their instruments – i.e. c is still c but in the octave of their instrument
  • Each member musician is treated with respect
  • Each musician maintains and respects the instruments (equipment)
  • Each musician understands the importance of self control
  • The success of the orchestra is based on who well each section gel and work together – the failure of a single section is a failure of the whole 
  • The fun is when all of the hard work comes together for a successful and well received performance

Are there any lessons you would like to add?

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