In light of Jazz Appreciation Month, Michael Gold explains how the characteristics of jazz music are the same characteristics used in our everyday lives, work, and interactions with others.
After earning his Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Masters in Jazz Studies, Michael spent his early career traveling around as a performer with various musical groups. When the time came for him to focus on building a family, Michael stepped back from performance and began a different path; first teaching at higher institutions and then managing operations at a financial company. Even though Michael still enjoyed the jazz scene, his 9-5 job as an operations manager limited his jazz time until he was asked to conduct a jazz workshop for a business organization.
Faced with the challenge of presenting jazz music to business professionals proved easy for Michael. As both jazz music and business, he discovered innovation while maintaining certainty. According to Gold, “2010 IBM CEO Survey of 1600 corporations found that the biggest challenge facing business in the 21st century is one of complexity. The most important tool to deal with this complexity according to these CEO’s is creativity.”
Jazz has the liberating structure that these CEO’s and business owners already understand as essential to innovation. It involves minimal guidelines to keep alive yet has the freedom of multiple iterations to find the best possible solution. In our constantly changing, high tech world, adaptability is more important than ever before. Michael describes business without innovations like classical music; “they are both necessary yet rudimentary, structured, and unchanging.” Jazz music, however embodies the innovation and creativity needed to innovate and adapt in our fast paced world.
“You don’t have to be a music expert to appreciate jazz!”
According to Michael, “we have a powerfull pool of technology that gives us the ability to improvise. If we don’t understand the integral dynamics that allow us to deal with ambiguity and change we are all in big trouble.” Music, particularly jazz music, has the power to help individuals and business leaders deal with the ambiguity of our increasingly fast paced society. Jazz not only invokes creativity, but it also demands a great deal of attention. In his career of presenting jazz music to business professionals, Michael has found that “when you give people in a particular culture a platform (such as jazz) that opens creative imagination it is a huge opening for them.”
So in these last few days of Jazz Appreciation Month, take a moment to find a jazz tune that appeals to you and listen to how the instrumentalists play off of one another. Then apply that same relaxed structure of adaptability to the business and social interactions in your own life. After all, there are only two types of music: music you like and music you don’t like. Finding the music that best fits your mood may just be a start to finding the practices that best suite your business and lifestyle.
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