After a long day at the office, many executives are choosing to put in extra hours with their colleagues on the live music circuit due to a burgeoning trend of top corporations encouraging their employees to make music together.
“We’re seeing now more than ever a drive in the American workplace toward greater teamwork and team-building, not only in the boardroom but also in the formation of corporate bands,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM, the international trade association for the music products industry. “These are groups of individuals who work hard together and then at the end of the day, they’re picking up musical instruments to blow off steam, develop stronger relationships and have fun.”
Music has often been shown to encourage the development of interpersonal communication skills, enhanced problem-solving capabilities and a greater ability to work as a team. Additionally, making music is now becoming a more heavily integrated part of the work/life balance as many companies look to bolster morale and encourage creative thinking.
“More than 82 percent of people who don’t currently play an instrument wish they did,” said Lamond. “That number is astounding; what we’ve learned with the abundance of new corporate bands emerging is that people are realizing later in life that it’s never too late to pursue a passion or try something completely new. Corporate bands are bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds and talent levels, acting as a successful retention tool for companies and an added benefit for employees.”
As members of the latest corporate bands prepare for retirement, there is no sign of slowing down. There has been an increase in music making among baby boomers and, according to a recent Harris Poll funded by NAMM, more than 40 percent in this category believe playing an instrument has helped reduce stress.
More than 35 percent of people claim to lack natural talent to play and that prevents them from learning. NAMM has created a program called Wanna Play? geared entirely toward changing the perception that you have to be a classically trained musician to enjoy the benefits of playing music. From age 5 to 85, people are picking up instruments as a way to bond with friends, family and colleagues—and the health benefits are music to their ears.
“Playing music with my colleagues has definitely helped to bring us together and make our band a more tight-knit unit at the office,” said Sarah Greene, an executive at Boston-based Enernoc who makes music with her colleagues in the corporate band Enerock. “We work hard all day and making music together helps us have a little fun and unwind.”
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