In a groundbreaking experiment last month, Face The Music went into P.S. 11 in the Bronx and, in conjunction with LittleKidsRock, brought its particular brand of the blues to some very talented young musicians. The day began with an impromptu jam-session of sorts with the FTM band playing alongside the LKR kids as they ran through some blues changes and some classic rock songs. Afterwards, FTM showed over 100 students how we approach the blues and then broke out into classrooms for song-writing. As with any group of blues musicians there was a lot of hootin' and hollerin' (and maybe a few tears) but in the end a dozen blues songs were written -- and then enthusiastically performed! -- by the 4th and 5th grade students of PS 11.
For those of you who don't know, Little Kids Rock is an organization that provides public school children with the opportunity to take music classes when their schools are otherwise unable to do so. Not only do they supply the instruments and a gang of dedicated volunteers, they also train teachers at the school to run those music classes.
It's a wonderful organization that is changing lives every day and Face The Music is proud to support it. As you may know, FTM is donating proceeds from our new CD, Your Work is Your Song, to help LKR continue and expand their important mission. We wholeheartedly support the work that Little Kids Rock is doing for our children AND our future.
The aforementioned CD, Your Work Is Your Song, is about the wide range of obstacles, challenges, and triumphs that are part of being a human in today's modern work force. We use the blues to help frame those sometimes elusive aspects of business, work, and life and how we relate to them.
"Incredible!! That is how I will summarize The Face The Music experience in Miami. Honestly, initially there were questions if this approach would work with our executives. We now have our answer--a resounding "Yes."
VP, OD & Inclusion
global management consulting company
"The great thing about this was seeing everybody have such a great time, getting out of their comfort zones, singing and dancing like that--it was so cool. A great way for everybody to come together and share their experiences, share their stories, and come out of here of one mind and one voice to do some very important work tomorrow."
The songs are powerful and sometimes edgy -- but always distinctive, rhythmic, and tuneful. Often, the songs shine a light on subjects that anyone in corporations worldwide can relate to, and our clients usually come out of a listening with a smile.
"The CD is quite a body
of work - your range of styles is very impressive and the overall production quality is fabulous."
We believe that music and self-expression are essential, whether you are a 4th grader in the Bronx or the employee
of a Fortune 500 company. Your Work Is Your Song sends a message that everyone
can understand, whether it is part of school, work, or simply life in general. Sometimes it's best when you just: face the music.
"I have been grooving
to the Face The Music CD all day long...thank you!! What a cool thing you guys do! I really appreciate your generosity and the
exposure that your CD will give our kids and our program."
-David Wish, Executive Director, Little Kids Rock-
Report from Miami-FTM at Diversity Forum
by Paul Kwiecinski
A division of a major consulting organization decided to cross into the unknown, and take two days to explore how their unconscious
biases were impacting their business.
They brought in Face The Music to help them, knowing that our methods are creative, cutting edge, and facilitate a new discussion in
a way that keeps the focus while reframing the topics.
We opened the two-day forum with an allegorical gathering of the band. The drummer starts a groove, and one-by-one the FTM band
takes the stage and joining in until we're all grooving.
A rewrite of a song from our first CD known as Glass Ceiling Blues, rewritten for this event as the Succession/Progression Blues,
outlining the difficulties women are having getting promoted.
We end with Culture Song about connecting with who you are as a company, and who you are striving to be:
"What are you known for?, what are you goin' for?"
One of the ideas with this opening was to show that this conference was going to be differentopening the morning
with an 8-piece band? Different!
The opening numbers were followed by the leadership team each speaking in this area of unconscious bias. As the CEO was
wrapping up, the bit was that I jumped in and interrupted him, "Not yet, Steve, this team has one more piece of work to present..."
The leadership team had written a song the night before that summed up what they wanted to happen at the conference, and
it was time to premier it.
By being willing to take a risk and do something way outside their comfort zone to open this forum, they set a tone and
sent a message that they were going to stick their necks out, do something different, and have a little fun with a subject that has
potential to get a bit heavy.
The next FTM appearance was a different mediumskits. They were different workplace scenes scripted to illustrate how unconscious bias
plays out in the workplace, and they were spiced up by musical accents from the rest of the band that wasn't acting at the time.
Later in the afternoon, we got into the FTM songwriting session. There was a great escalation of energy as the process unfolded.
The performances were after dinner that night12 groupswith an excellent collection of songs, styles,
choreography, and good lyrics about the topics at hand. The audience enthusiastically lauded, applauded, hooted, and hollered as the unique
and original set was presented.
There was much debriefing in the bar on performance highlights, memorable lyrics, and general war stories from the process.
When, in the bright light of the Miami dawn, debrief time came, it seemed cautious and polite compared to the
conversations the night before. But the sharing opened up gradually to a new, more open (and risky) level. I could feel a tension in the
room releasing by degrees.
For me it was affirming of the power of the FTM programs, and the potent learning and development tools available in the
process. I was also inspired by the courage and initiative of the leadership and the participants in taking this on and making the time to
have these discussions that are expanding their collective consciousness to new places.
What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up that Face The Music can add value to?