Music as a Tool for Teambuildings



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Music is a powerful means of communication. Everyone knows that, but did you know it is also an ideal tool for team buildings? And who could better explain that than musician, Jean Bosco Safari.


05-09-2016 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Music is a powerful means of communication. Everyone knows that, but did you know it is also an ideal tool for team buildings? And who could better explain that than musician, Jean Bosco Safari.

 

Hi Jean welcome to our studio.

 

Hi Kevin. Thank you for having me here.

 

Most people know you as a musician. You also organize team building activities.

 

Yes. It’s a metaphor actually. It’s not really a team building like rafting or bungie jump.

 

No.

 

No, no.

 

I’m disappointed.

 

It’s more like we offer a metaphor and a metaphor is built on three pillars. The first one is wonder. And the second one is non-threatening communication. And the third one is result, and probably your next question will be, what is actually wonder?

 

Yeah. I’m still wondering. What will you do with other people?

 

Alright, okay. So what do we do? We offer the people to come into our rehearsal room to see how our band works. How they work together. And once they come in mostly all these people, all these business people, they think, oh, there are the artists. And in between us there’s a big black line and then there is us. The exact science and these guys are a bit hazy. They’re cloudy people. It’s fun, but it’s hazy and then from the moment I see that I say, okay. You’ll probably thing there’s a big black line here but as we progress, as we proceed you’ll see that black line will disappear. And some parts of that black line will even have some rainbow colors. Then suddenly it will disappear. Will dissolve. So we take them in three steps. And the first step is like, what is music? Let me tell you something about music. So music is actually emotional mathematics.

 

Mathematics?

 

Yes it’s exactly, Bach knew that. Bach’s music is so mathematically precise.

 

So there’s a formula for the perfect song?

 

Well there is a formula for a well-balanced out song. But the perfect song it’s so incredible, versatile what you can do with these seven notes, But it’s all mathematics and it’s wonderful to have that bedded in an emotional wrapping, and that’s so great. When a song is good you can really make sure that it’s mathematically okay.

 

Okay. That’s interesting, but you’re not talking about maths now, it’s team building?

 

No, no, but we explain a lot of things. We explain a lot of things in a wondrous way. For example, when you want to work with people you need to wonder then. You make sure their mind is open. If you tell them too many things they know their minds will close. You see that often that people tend to, you know, sleep actually. Close their minds and they’re not in the room anymore. So you have to keep them awake. You have to wonder them.

 

But the drums; it’s more difficult to give them a dream.

 

You have to do that with your introduction. And I think the definition of wonder is observe and ask questions. So you need to observe and if you observe things and you ask questions you’ll stay awake. Right. Now the second thing we need, that first part wondering we went through a lot of interaction. We take the people in our rehearsal room. We do a lot of musical experiments. They step up, they dance, they groove and they…

 

They make music themselves also?

 

Yes, yes. They don’t have to. They don’t have to. If you don’t like it don’t do it. Never do anything you don’t want to do. Now the second phase where we take you into is the phase of non-threatening communication, and it’s all about respect for diversity. We work together, we’re different. We’re all different with all our skills because like, for example, a musician, that’s a solo team. Many skills combined in one person. And what is a good group, is a couple of solo teams put together that match, and it balances the big word. Now once we have done the wondering part with a lot of interaction. The non-threatening communication part we do a lot of interaction. Musical interaction they get to know how to compose a song. How do we work. And it’s a lot of mathematics in it, but then also a lot of intuition as well and a lot of peace, because when you’re uptight you don’t create well. When you have stress is something else you create but the inner peace to be clearheaded, clear minded is very important. Outside there can be a lot of stress, but inside you have to be very clearheaded. Then at that certain point when we have done all these interactions and its musical interactions like singing together four different songs at the same time, but with the same basis of pattern of chords with the same drum pattern. With the same bass pattern, but on top of that we sing five different songs.

 

You create a kind of their company song or…?

 

That’s the last phase because the third phase is the result phase. Otherwise it would be cheap talk. [Laughter]. We don’t want to have cheap talk now. So we go for result and how do we create result, because what is a songwriter? He will create out of nothing, something. That something happens to be a song.

 

Can anybody do that?

 

Anybody can do it. Anybody can write a song. I’m not saying it’s going to be listenable song.

 

It will be a song.

I’m kidding. No, no. If you go straight from the heart and your content is really true, you will have a great song. Even with a poor melody, but you will have a great song. It’s all about the content. So that’s what we do also.

 

Does the emotion part says emotional part?

 

Yes because, for example, if this company were 635 people were sitting there, so we divide them in groups, break out groups. And there is one particular question I ask before starting the workshop. That is we need content and we need content from the heart. Of course your company is number one. Of course your company pay you a good salary. We’re not going to write about that, but we’re going to write about why you like to do your job. When you enter your office do you like it? What’s the feeling when you enter your office? When you leave home and step on the bike, step in the bus, step in the car, step on a train. What’s the expectational feeling that you have? That’s what we’re going to write about. This is a system, we divide them in break out groups and everybody in those groups we have the person who assemble information. Then we have the persons who select information and then we have the persons who actually puts the icing on the cake. Put the cherry on the cake. And in every group we have these three divisions and that’s how we can work with big groups and with small groups. Then we ask then to really quick, under stress, limited time to write down the content straight from the heart. Why do you like your job? You can do that with key words, key lines. You don’t have to rhyme. Please don’t start rhyming. Do that in the last stage and the last phase, but don’t start rhyming at the beginning because you get lost and you lose content. You lose the vibe. And it’s about gathering information as much as possible. Then we sort out some selectors. They go, ”oh not this, not that” and then the icing on the cake. Now I gather all this information. I isolate myself for one hour, one hour and a half while they’re having a break because they’ve done a good job by then. Then I start, like, puzzling the song together.

 

In one hour?

 

One hour and a half, and I make an original melody on the spot, and then when I return my band is waiting. Of course they know me. They know how I build up these melodies, but it’s always another song. Maybe oh or a yeah or something, pops up in every song. That’s quite original material and then we rehearse while the people are sitting in front of us. It’s going to be like this. I’ll try this. Try that. Okay, in the meantime the lyrics are projected on a screen and then we do the song.

 

It’s amazing.

 

Measurable. You can hear it and if we put it on some USB stick or whatever or on a CD you can touch it.

 

A great way to build some weird team. Jean, thank you very much for coming over.

 

My pleasure. Thank you Kevin.

 

You at home thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.

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