Today, I want to talk about the magic of music.
There are some songs that from the minute I hear the opening notes, I’m transported to a very specific time in my life: “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” “Fire and Rain,” “Dancing in the Moonlight,” “Lyin’ Eyes”…
If an old song from the ‘70s comes on, I’m not wherever I am when it’s playing. I’m in my Mustang convertible bringing Frank Horst home from football practice or Dave Smithson home from work at Cherry Chase Public Golf Course.
And the meaning of a song can change with the passage of time.
For instance, now when I hear “Leader of the Band,” I’m carried away to early September 2021, hand-feeding my dad ice cubes as he lay in bed, just an hour before he died.
The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band
Certain songs transport you back in time, to happy moments, to sad moments, to the moments you wish you could forget but never will. Music is like that. Music is magic.
And as leaders, we can take this magic and positively harness it to achieve our Wildly Important Goals. Athletes do it all the time. During the 2016 Olympics, Michael Phelps famously got into the zone by listening to Future’s “Stick Talk,” which he said motivated him for the races ahead.
While “Stick Talk” pumped Phelps up for the pool, another athlete in another sport might choose something to calm them down. Costas Karageorghis, a professor of sports and exercise psychology at Brunel University London, explained in an article for CBC.ca that athletes competing in high-octane sports like snowboarding or surfing “might choose a song with a tempo that is close to resting heart rate at a moment of high anxiety.”
Whenever possible, I’ve always tried to bring the magic of music to the leaders around me. At last year’s Stronger Together event, I asked the CEOs to select the song they wanted to play while they walked onto the stage. At Contempo Realty and Intero, I’d come up on stage to the theme song from “The Godfather.” In fact, just writing that line right now I’m already humming the music. Daa daaa daaa daaaaa…
Jim Kirk, CEO of Corporate Magic, the creative team behind the music and performances during General Sessions at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention, told me an old college friend of his who became a vocal teacher wrote a dissertation on the healing effects of singing and the positive benefits singing can have on the immune system.
It makes sense when you think about all the ways music can alter our mood and mindset.
Jim also said that from a young age, he taught himself to analyze the impact a particular song would have on people, then choose what style, instruments, choral progressions, tempos, voices or lyrics to use to elicit those feelings in others. It’s why if you’ve ever been to a general session at the sales convention, you’re taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as the music twists and turns with drama and excitement. Every choice Jim and his team make is strategic and purposeful. But more on that next week. Please (pun intended) stay tuned.
So, what’s the message? Music is magic.
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.