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Singing For Their Supper: How Music Can Improve Performance in the Workplace

By:  Journey Australia Staff 14/05/2014
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Song Division at work

We’ve all had dreams of rock stardom. But outside of making stadiums full of people scream your name, composing and performing music can have some unexpected benefits – even for those of us lacking in inherent musical talent. 

Song Division believes composing a tune can lead to improved performance in the workplace. Since 2003, the company’s ensemble of professional musicians have been working with some of the world’s most prominent companies, including Coca-Cola, to get employees to step away from their desks – and up to a microphone.

“Music is great when it comes to memory and trying to communicate messages,” said Song Division creative director, Sam McNeill. “You never forget famous lyrics.”

The idea is to encourage teams to engage with business material – like core business values or team goals – in a creative way. The method means staff are more likely to internalise and ultimately remember what theyve learned.

 “Our job isn’t to teach team members what they already know, our job is to get them to communicate what theyve learned back to us,” Sam said. “Its about the company being able to see what theyre educating their team on is actually being withheld and memorised.”

The process is simple. After a group jointly decides on a musical direction for the song, members comprise poems about their business. “We take key words, and theyre written down on the big screen,” explained Sam. “Those key words become the theme for lyric writing.”

Then, the entire audience-slash-band sings in an impromptu recording session. “We perform it as almost one big 35-person supergroup,” laughed Sam. This group activity – sometimes hilarious, usually joyous – becomes a way to deeply engage with new subjects and learn new ways of thinking.

“Using music helps take away the politics, take away the hierarchy of the company, break down all those barriers and really just help people,” Sam said. “For me theres no better communicator.”

Check out Song Division for more information - and even for a song or two.