I’ve had a rare opportunity to attend the New York Philharmonic in rehearsal recently, which was a truly pleasurable experience. Not only for the chance to see these wonderful musicians in action, but to experience first hand how they prepare for their evening performance.
Whilst I was sitting at the magnificent David Geffen Hall (part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts), I could not stop drawing connections between was I was experiencing with what I had leant about working in a team.
So we had a conductor (CEO) leading the team (around 100 people) alongside a concertmaster (Managing Director). His vision was very clear, which resulted in quite few repetitions of certain sections of the musical piece, however, he never lost his smile and patiently helped his musicians to master their instruments. On few occasions, both the conductor and the concertmaster reached out to the entire orchestra asking for any pieces that they may have wanted to rehearse. Their style was open but firm and directive.
Also very interestingly, I had a chance to witness how the individual musicians were communicating with each other. I saw a very young violinist being constantly corrected by his senior colleague, but at the end, he was congratulated on a massive progress he was able to make over the 3-hour rehearsal, not only by his colleague, but also the conductor.
Summarizing, although the world of classical music has very little to do with my past experiences, what I was able to learn was that working in a team is not solely reserved for business people, but quite frankly for any clusters where people are required to work together for higher results.
Then the entire orchestra came together and performed Detlev Gianert’s Brahms-Fantasie. Every ‘team member’ knew their role within the hierarchy of the group; sometimes they play louder, other times quieter. But they did it together and in tune. Simply MAGIC.
(This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 24th October 2015)