Hear from the Client, Hear from the Band

Issue 38 – March 2015




In February we were out in California a lot doing 4 events with a health care organization that has taken a liking to

Face The Music's

particular brand of incorporating music, fun, creativity, and innovation into an initiative to change an organization and propel it forward. The relationship started late in 2013, and we are accompanying them through an ambitious, challenging, and satisfying change process.

In health care, as in the society and the economy in general, change is happening at an ever-accelerating pace. That function was made even more complex and challenging in the healthcare sector by the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Our clients are committed to maintaining and improving a world-class organization and taking on the challenges together as an organization, including consciously transforming the culture and structures of their organization in order to adapt and maintain the care and service to their members that is their steadfast mission.

In early February we held sessions with two groups (200 people each) of leaders of the HR organization that is driving the change initiative. Their idea is that they need to be the change they want to see—walk the talk. Each group spent a day taking a deep dive into training and exercises around themes of new ways of communicating, interdependence, connecting between organizational silos, and identifying and addressing key issues in the change process.

Some intense organizational work! So why did they decide to take 3 hours of their day to write and perform songs with Face The Music? The lead designer and facilitator explains, "It's one thing to talk about communicating differently, taking risks, challenge, and uncertainty; we wanted something that brings that conversation to life in real time. Face The Music does all that for us. The program immediately challenges most people when it's announced that they're going to sing onstage—that's one of the most common fears among humans. Being in that emotion simulates the fears that many are experiencing with all the changes on the job.

Satisfied Clients

"Our meetings were an incredible success, and the Face The Music programs were the highlight of each day (very highly rated by the participants)."


Healthcare HR VP

"The members of the band were easy to work with, passionate and professional and my group and I were happy to have prepared for such an event. I wanted to thank you on behalf of our Company as well as personally for a worthwhile, pleasurable and meaningful experience and look forward to working with you continuously in the future."


Lorraine M. Papenberg

Orange and Rockland Utilities

"It was a pleasure to watch my participants let go, have fun, and learn that creativity and innovation are essential to our business turn-around. You and the band were pivotal in making that happen."


Anne Kurzenberger

Senior Manager

Leadership Development

& Executive Programs

"It truly was a fun and interactive learning experience that nicely complemented our overall training days for our staff. It is important for our staff, which does not have the opportunity to meet face-to-face very often, to connect as peers and forge team-based relationships. The Face the Music experience definitely facilitated that."



Canadian Diabetes Association

"Face The Music gives them an experience of feeling that apprehension and having a process with their co-workers to co-create something new and extraordinary by working together, and culminating in an exciting and rewarding experience, a win. The fear is overcome, not through addressing and processing it directly, but through collaboration, communication, and teamwork while working together—just what we're developing in our change initiative.

"Our meetings were an incredible success, and the Face The Music programs were the highlight of each day (very highly rated by the participants). The fact that the leaders modeled vulnerability by coming out and singing their own song in the opening part of the program really opened the door for the group to throw themselves fully into the activity."

Some lyrics from the leaders' song:

Goin' to take some time to write our new song

We're gonna need to sing it before too long

It's going to be different change is never done

And we can make it all happen and still have some fun

Let's think out loud, together you and me

Communicating differently

Interdependence is more than a word

A language we share where one and all are heard

"After the Face The Music experience, and a bit of a break, we held a debrief with the participants. This helps to transfer the experience into learning, and connecting it to what we are doing on the job, and the changes we are making.

"One long term effect from our Face The Music experiences is that people remember the experience like nothing else we've done. They're still talking about it for weeks, references from songs written in 2013 still come up at meetings, and some people are still called by the stage name they chose. This helps the work because these experiences are directly associated with our change initiative—the songs were about the themes, and the experience of breaking through is transferable to our work."

What Musicians Really Think About You


After the recent Face The Music event described in the article above, we interviewed our own band to get their take on the event. To give a little background, the members of the FTM team are musicians and consultants. This article strictly deals with the band. The musician's role is 3-fold:


First the band plays during the opening presentation


Then band members coach participant groups in songwriting


Finally on stage for the client performances, the musician/coach duties are doubled—they re-join the band, and they lead their groups in performing their song.

At an FTM event, as in comedy, timing is everything. The events are almost always tightly structured with very little wiggle room. Therefore the songwriting process that we do with participants is mix of letting creative juices flow but with a deadline. Before I forget, most of the people at these events whom we wangle into writing a in song in 30-45 minutes have no musical training.

All our band members are brilliant musicians; they work and have worked with the top players in their fields. Collectivity they've written music for film and TV, played on Grammy award recordings, have, and or are, touring with world class pop, rock, blues, and jazz artists. To verify Google: Akie Bermiss, Lilly Aycud, or Jon Bates.

Question one:

What challenges did you have with your groups?

JB: One group had two people who took control of the process and weren't regarding input from the others, so I had to diplomatically get them to back off a little to make it more fun and inclusive for everyone else, by pointing out how well the cadence of the lyrics that some other people were suggesting fit into the song.

AB: My groups had trouble actually deciding what song template to use. When time is running down and a group (or, in this instance, a couple of groups) are still trying to figure what template they want to use—they haven't got a song title, no lyrics, no band name—you start thinking about how you're going to get them through the actual writing process and in to rehearsal and, finally, on stage!

LA: One group was not cooperating together. The group leader was dictating to the group what they should be doing. The leader didn't quite understand her role and there was a lot of confusion. It took them some time to work it out.

Did your groups seem willing to write their songs?

JB: All were very cooperative and very willing.

AB: Each of my groups was really into the challenge of


to write these songs. While some groups may have certainly


more than others at getting to a final, performable project, it was a distinct pleasure to work with people who threw themselves at the challenge.

LA: No restraints

Was there any change in attitude from beginning to performing on stage?

JB: It seems there is usually a tendency for participants to become more engaged, more enthusiastic and more confident about performing the songs as the lyric writing process evolves, and they start to connect to whatever the message is that they want to convey.

AB: The change in the attitude of the groups is hard to describe succinctly. Normally, it's about the group dynamic. Always, in the things like this, you'll find someone in a group who doesn't really want to write or is terrified of having to perform or even sing in rehearsal! What you try to do is encourage those folks to remember that probably no one in the whole event is a professional musician. Everyone is going to try to screw the courage to the sticking place and get up there. Normally, as the song starts to get written, and clever or fun lyrics start working within the templates, participants get much more excited about performing for the group.

LA: In the beginning you to tell them what to do and everyone is like "Gosh we're gonna do this." They really seem nervous but by the time they get onto stage with props (hats, wigs, sun glasses and bling) then all the sudden, as a group, everybody is getting into it. They practiced some added dance steps and it was fun!

What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up

that Face The Music can add value to?

To reach us:


(845) 687-2100