July 2009

  Issue 12 – July 2009 facethemusicblues.com  

Head, Heart, and Hands--Full Engagement
The Power of Music in Education

Head, Heart, and Hands--Full Engagement
By Paul Kwiecinski

“I like Face the Music because it’s a multi-dimensional approach”, said Sherry Hollack,Macy’s Sr. VP of Talent and Organization Development, during our intake call for a recent event in Cincinnati. “You engage the head, the heart and the hands.” “I like that,” I said.

“Mind if I use it?”


May 2009
–  Comment from a Major Pharmaceutical Company regarding their FTM Experience
–  EMD Serono, Inc. - Kate Cingolani, Communications Specialist

Face the Music appeals to people intellectually, giving them a unique assignment that challenges them cognitively. Our unique and experiential approach involves participants putting something together with their colleagues in a team environment, capturing themes, concerns, excitement, and reframing them into the form of a song. Through this they also are invited to express their emotions about what is going on, creating an excitement that is difficult to reach in traditional classroom environments. The hands, or practical part of the process, requires them to define actions they can take going forward–personal and collective work that will make a difference when they return to their jobs, and in the Macy’s case, what will make their new reorganization project a success.

The three-fold approach appeals to different learning styles. For example, from a Myers-Briggs perspective, extroverts like to take action and then reflect on the outcome of the action to see what they’ve learned. Introverts like to reflect and then act, and the program design allows for that to happen as well. As in the work environment, each team needs to adapt and accommodate the preferences of the team members.

Head–As well as being experiential, the Face the Music process involves cognitive function and logic. The participants analyze the task at hand and through proposed discussion questions, develop themes, sub themes, issues, and “data.” It’s basically a logical brainstorming process where they generate ideas, process and evaluate them, and make decisions about which to incorporate into their “product,” their song.

Heart–One of the most powerful aspects of experiential learning is the role of emotions and feelings. In our program, we encourage people to get in touch with how they are feeling about their situation and their issues. In many business environments emotions are not necessarily encouraged, so participants often welcome the opportunity to express their feelings in the FTM process. They have fun exploring and naming the emotions they experience at work. The process itself generates it's own enthusiasm and builds as the team comes up with rhymes, metaphors, and other creative ways to express their process in the lyrics.

Singing the song, first in rehearsal, and then (gasp) on the stage; ups the stakes in the emotional realm. It’s very exciting, but can also bring up fear of performing, stress for some, and ultimately (usually) the rush of being in front of their colleagues having completed their creation, and receiving their applause. For some there is a sense of relief along with the feeling of accomplishment.

Hands–The ‘hands’ are about practicality, action, and physical effect. In our programs there is the hands on activity of creating and performing–using the whole body by the end of the process–and there is also the question of what action, what to-do’s, to take on going forward. After reflection and discussion on what they created, presented, and learned from the activity, as well as what they learned from being in the process and witnessing their cohorts do the same, participants explore actions they can commit to back on the job. This enables them to make use of the insights learned to make a concrete impact.

The Face The Music experience has the effect of contributing to a perceivable shift in a client’s culture, especially when they are already in a process of change like a reorganization or merger. The multi-dimensional approach can help the group reground in their dynamic environment–and, they had a lot of fun doing it.
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The Power of Music in Education
By Ken McGloin
Education: “How does a company that usually participates in conferences for Fortune 500 Companies, fare in the arena of Independent Schools?” (A promotional but interesting case study on the power of music)
PoCC: People of Color Conference sponsored by NAIS
In December 2008, Face The Music was a part of the PoCC conference held in New Orleans. This conference was designed for people of color to explore how diversity impacts their roles in independent schools. Attendees were mostly teachers and administrators (1700 participates). Briefly, Face The Music was brought in to facilitate these 1700 participants to write and perform songs about the challenges of their jobs in only one and a half hours. If you’d like to see how we did it click here:


Groups used our regular blues templates as well as "When the Saints Go Marching In" as a template. Some also used other songs to write to based on their heritage or ethnicity. It was a beehive of 1700 people using music to work together, meet a challenge, create, and have fun doing so.
Poughkeepsie Day School
What do James Earl Jones, Pete Seegar, David Strathairn and jazz drummer; Jack Dejohnette have in common? Well, they’re all pretty nice people; also their children have gone to the Poughkeepsie Day School. PDS (referred to here on) is a forward thinking private school in Upstate NY.
In May of this year FTM facilitated an event for 7th-8th grade middle school students. They had been studying and looking at social justice through different windows. Our objective was to help students to express the year’s learning’s about social justice through music. There were 47 students and 6 teachers participating. Instead of performing our event on a big stage in a ballroom, we were in a good-sized classroom. We had full sound (at low volume). Students (who are encouraged to speak out in the school’s environment) were very vocal during a sharing about the state of the world. When it came to writing songs about social justice things got more interesting. Some students stayed on point while others went off into different directions. Here are some of the lyrics:

Animal Cruelty
I woke up this morning
I passed a fur shop
I saw the alligator shoes
And I skidded to a stop
-it makes me crazy
-I feel like such a fool
-Get my butt outta bed

-That just ain’t cool

Whether it’s at an upscale hotel, a conference center, or in the classroom, music speaks to our most basic instincts.
My parting words come from an educational point of view. The school year comes to an end, can you guess what the most common phrase is on the last day of school?
“Have a great summer” ... (heed these words)
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What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up
that Face The Music can add value to?
To reach us: info@facethemusicblues.com          (845) 687-2100