I attended a performance of La Bohème at London’s Albert Hall earlier this year. Aside from the usual operatic story of romance, sex, drugs, rock’n’roll disease and death, I was struck by the preparation as the orchestra painstakingly practised their art before the performance began, although they had doubtless invested more than 10 000 hours of practice before this concert in mastering their instruments. Here’s a very short snippet of the warm up and what appears to be a cacophony:
- Professionals practice, amateurs try to wing it. Even on pieces that they are familiar with, professionals warm themselves up. This is exactly the same when giving a keynote address or presentation in my experience. Preparation is everything!
- Before a concert performance, individuals practice their own pieces in the main. This requires them to effectively shutdown their hearing and concentrate on their own performance. Once the performance starts, they need to hear their own performance and the rest of the orchestra. Listening to your own performance solo and to your performance in the context of those around you are distinctly different skill sets in my experience and are the hallmark of masters of their craft.
- The performers must also be untroubled by the audience talking etc. So this is a selective type of hearing and deafness, what I call “listening through” rather than “listening to“.
These are the abilities of an emotionally intelligent person. Someone who is a master of their own skill and who has the ability to tune in (or out) of what is going on around them. Here’s our interpretation of a model that sums up the work of Daniel Goleman et al. on the topic. Great leaders and great musicians share the skill of emotional intelligence. What I call being a master of both inner and outer space. For more on this take a peek at the book “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll“.
We’ll be practising these skills at a corporate improvisation session in London this week with “Masterclass“. get in touch if you would like to witness one of these in action.
About the Author: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and Organisation Development, Training and Coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7725 927585