Singing & Learning with Face The Music
By Amy Fradon
On a long ride back home from a powerful Face The Music event, I was telling Paul how grateful I feel about being a part of FTM for the past 20 years and about how much I have grown as a result of these FTM experiences. He asked if I would be wiling to share some of my thoughts with all our FTM newsletter readers and I told him I’d be delighted.
When I first joined FTM I was initially excited that is was a “good gig”—pay-wise, as being a musician can be a dicey financial proposition. I also liked having a chance to coach people in a setting different from my own private practice as a vocal coach. I was pretty nervous because going into the corporate world was so foreign to me as a person whose life has been steeped in the arts and lived as a nature-bound, Catskill Mountain woman. I felt like a fish out of water, and the stress over how to interact successfully with people whose daily lives were so different from mine was enormous. Another new factor: although I was used to working mostly with men in the male dominated world of music, here I was on the road with 4 or 5 men, usually with no other females on the team [since changed. ed.]. As much as the FTM guys had been friends and colleagues for years, sometimes the vibe felt pretty tough and lonely for me. I had entered the Men’s Club, albeit not a bad one, and I just didn’t know my way around.
I remember a turning point: a company we were working for was doing an awareness program on women in the workplace. Suddenly I was there helping the women on the teams to express their feelings about being in the minority among men and trying to find their own power and their own leadership styles and skills. At this point I realized that I not only had commonality with those women, but that my ability to express creativity was going to help them to be more empowered and could also help me to empower myself and believe in myself amongst the men I worked with. Hearing those women share gave me a personal, heartfelt connection with people in the business world and gave me a human perspective on the struggles we all share, no matter what our beliefs, history, or means may be.
FTM prides itself on being a stickler for details and accountability. I love the challenge of being on time, being ready for anything that might come up, being able to switch gears on a dime and handling situations that seemed un-handleable, such as having to coach 5 groups to write and perform their own song in just 20 minutes. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts with my groups, even in face of teasing from my FTM cohorts about some of my musical limitations!! I’ve learned to speak up when something bothers me and also to let things go if it serves the greater good. I’ve also learned a very important leadership skill, and that is to trust in your client. For the most part, all I have to do is provide a safe and obvious container for my groups and they, each in their own unique way, always come through with exactly what they need to express themselves and meet the challenge. People have a truly magnificent, inherent ability to succeed when given a good chance.
Though it might seem like a difficult mindset for a competitive, fast-paced workplace, I have also grown in the skill of empathy and generosity. I remember listening to the songs of people from a prominent bank during the times of the troubled banking failures and hearing real concerns from real people about where their industry and work was headed. I hear real concerns from marketing people and from innovation teams who live under tremendous pressures to achieve. Sometimes I just want to give them massages and send them to spas!! I’m glad I know how tough it is for them and for all the people who make a large corporation operate. It’s too easy for others to make a quip about the evils of corporations. But businesses are made of real people, trying really hard to do a good job and survive and succeed. Having empathy and awareness that other people in all walks of life work very hard and deserve time, compensation and recognition helps me grow as a person.
And finally, I am grateful to my team and to Paul and Kenny who work tirelessly to bring a successful experience to each company we work for. I admire their dedication and client-centered focus. Their diligence makes me want to do a great job. They have given me the opportunity to coach into my potential, to troubleshoot, to practice independence and to speak about my needs and still feel loved. I could go on and on but, as is true in the business setting, I have to express myself with limited time, limited space and scant resources and with a dreaded deadline! I hope to see you all soon and I am grateful for the lessons learned from each of you.
Check Amy out at amyfradon.com