Big events

I am writing this in Bologna, where I shall be for the next two weeks. More or less.

Prior to getting here, I finished a big project for the Orchestra. It was on Wednesday, a Leadership Training workshop for senior managers from the (apparently) 3rd largest organisations in the world. Corporate development projects have alwasy seemed to be me to be something that could utilise the skills musicians develop in the Community Outreach program well, that could also generate significant income for the program, and for the Orchestra. But this is the first time I have been given the opportunity to demonstrate this.

I shall be a bit cryptic here, for the sake of anonymity. But essentially, the project I devised involved a scaled-down version of one of the most loved orchestral classics, played by an ensemble of 16 players. One hundred and twenty-seven corporate senior managers were involved. They each had an instrument – piece of percussion, including a lot of tuned percussion, and a big range of serious drums. This was no Toy Symphony – it needed to sound good.

The corporates divided up into break-out groups to develop a short section of music using their percussion instruments, with one of the Orchestra musicians assigned to lead and support each group. When all the break-out groups came back together, they learned that all of their small-group pieces had actually been designed to be played together, they were all to become small cogs in part of a far bigger machine. They hadn’t been told this when they were composing their pieces.

In the final part of the workshop, we put the whole piece together. There was a great atmosphere. The element of surprise worked well. People seemed genuinely excited and buzzed by the experience. Their training program leader concluded the session by summarising the learning experience they had just been through, highlighting the flexibility of of mind that had been required in the different stages of the project, and the commitment from each individual to the successful final outcome.

It was a BIG chunk of work to get through, right before going away. But good to do, good to have finally had the opportunity to demonstrate what I have always been sure about.

The next day then, I spent the morning being chilled and relaxed – slept in, went for a swim, went for breakfast then spent the afternoon in one of my highly focused modes, running errands, returning library books, finishing some bits of work, paying bills, sending emails. And packing.

Before I knew it I was switching off my mobile, walking down the corridor, entering the plane, settling into my seat…. and then we were in the air, and I was away.

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