Music, Business and Peace


(Olivier Urbain) #103

In the case of preventive peacebuilding, what we can do here and now in our own communities to promote living better together, it is hard to accept that there are sources of violence in our own communities or the way we related to authorities or the way we do business. As a result, it is more fun and appealing to promote preventive peacebuilding with music and business, which can be really engaging expressions of life. Music and business can make us want to participate, do things, take action, change our societies.
A major issue that emerges in this context is who organizes the activites and why, what is their agenda? Ideally, a well-planned and genuinely constructive agenda promoting musical and business activities for preventive peacebuilding would get people to take action with great enthusiasm and a spirit of solidarity.


(Alain Barker) #104

I continue to be intrigued by the way ‘art’ and ‘business’ seem separate in our first-world societies and am excited by our discussion, in that it implies a deeper connection between business practices and human expression through music - hopefully towards the idea of building a more peaceful world.

It seems that business participation in music making is often in support of creativity, rather than participatory (likewise, music participation in business is often entertainment at showcase events and not participation in the enterprise). I’d be interested to explore how in small (and hopefully large ways), the idea of creativity/innovation through art and business practice can merge.


(Constance Glen) #105

The Rwandan women are really such a perfect example of this, but my impression is that the drumming and then the ice-cream shop were very organic – not imposed by “organizers.” Is that true?


(Olivier Urbain) #106

Yes, that is what I understand, they were totally motivated from inside, they did not need outside agendas.


(Timothy L. Fort) #107

One of the things that I think is important in discussion the connecting points of music and business is to make sure we are aware of the different kinds of each. I think most people get the idea that there is a difference between classical music and rock, but similarly, there are small, entrepreneurial businesses, multinational corporations, state-owned enterprises. Now all of these ultimately depend on human interaction, but the dynamic that takes place within these organizations can be very different and can make a difference in the role music might play


(Olivier Urbain) #108

Organizations such as Playing for Change and Sound Strategies provide great examples of how to promote peacebuilding through musicking with a fabulous expertise in business.


(Nancy Sue Love) #109

There is a phenomenon called “muscular bonding” that refers to the sense of group solidarity listeners experience when they align with musical rhythms and melodies. These associations are easily recalled when the music is repeated. Research shows that a combination of less percussive sounds, simple rhythms, melodic repetition promotes relaxation and reflection among listeners. Hard-hitting chords and rhythms can trigger violent associations, a fight or flight response.


(Constance Glen) #110

So that may be where the music (or other cultural practice) provides the impetus or seed for moving forward.


(Timothy L. Fort) #111

This is a cool discussion!


(Alain Barker) #112

One example of a music group evolving their concept of impact into business practice is the Danish String Quartet - starting off as an amazing ensemble, then catching the entrepreneurship bug, starting their own brewery (branded as their beer, served at concerts), developing a formal music festival, and then informal music festival, which are wildly successful.


(Kathleen Higgins) #113

In addition to kinds of music of the sort you mention, there are also differences of scale and types of voices (e.g. small groups singing together, boys’ choirs, specialized kinds of music that are sung exclusively by men or women, large choirs, choirs with orchestras, etc.).


(Timothy L. Fort) #114

Ah yes, and as we’ll see in next month’s forum, there is an example of post-genocidal Rwandan women forming a drumming troupe to bridge their differences and ending up forming an ice-cream business!


(Constance Glen) #115

Putting the question up here again.


(Olivier Urbain) #116

Yes Alain, excellent example. It’s the same group that learned how to make their music effective, and then added business to their toolkit. I’d like to highlight the concept of “business as skill” in this conversation.

So adding business to music is not only about some business company coming in, but about the people who are already busy musicking for peace adding business skills.


(Timothy L. Fort) #117

Absolutely right. These variations can help us “fit” music into a dynamic that may be more beneficial to one kind of business experience than another. Great point!


(Kathleen Higgins) #118

The more relaxing type of music is also illustrated by chanting as a prelude to meditation in certain spiritual practices.


(Nancy Sue Love) #119

I am thinking about what could happen if business communities made supporting music and musicians that promote peace a priority…


(Constance Glen) #120

Yes – and interestingly, every culture has chanting in some form – whether or not it precedes meditation, so perhaps there is a human need for whatever it is that chanting produces. Probably overstating here, but I think there is something in this, just because of the prevalence of “chant” cross-culturally.


(Kathleen Higgins) #121

It is easy to imagine that chanting promotes collective attunement among people (pun intended), just as vigorous music promotes rhythmic entrainment.


(Olivier Urbain) #122

Trying to see if this works, replying to an earlier comment by Nancy… I agree that there is a correspondence between the physicality of the sounds (melodic repetition vs hard-hitting chords) and the emotional response it triggers (relaxation vs flight or flight). Then after we accept this, comes the question of what we do with it. It is quite possible to promote an urgent peace issue with hard-hitting chords, and to manipulate people into doing something terrible through melodic repetition… I prefer to separate the physicality of the music from the overall purpose, because the music itself is only one small part in a whole musicking whole… Does this make sense?