Saturday, January 08, 2005

Ah, the music!

This doesn't have too much to do with leadership, but on the other hand, might have more to do with it that even I realise.

Over the holidays I've had a wonderful time listening to some old vinyl LPs. Wonderful stuff.

All of Beethoven's 9 symphonies, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Fingal's Cave, Holst's The Planets, Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antartica... just wonderful.

The orchestral music reminded me of how much passion can be communicated by a large group of people ... a lot depends on the conductor!

Then for a total change I listened to some of the early "Jesus music" of the 70s, when hippies and rockers discovered Jesus, and expressed their songs in the language they knew best. Before it all became big business. Wow. Talk about passion! What these folks lacked in musical finesse, they made up for in contagious emotion in their music. And many of them are still going today, like guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy, and at least two members of the Second Chapter of Acts (honestly, those guys sang like angels!).

Finally, I'm now listening to the mind-altering synthesiser work of Jean-Michel Jarre. Wow. The record I'm listening to now is 27 years old, but still manages to sound futuristic. This guy didn't just take new instruments to play old music; he took new instruments further, creating whole new worlds in the ear and in the mind.

And he crossed barriers too. The other album I listened to earlier has this Frenchman performing in Beijing in 1982 - "the first performances of rock or contemporary music ever given in the People's Republic of China".

The leadership connection? Well, it's a bit tenuous, but very important: The arts are crucial.

The arts are part of what makes us human. They take us places our rational mind won't take us. They help us see new and more effective ways to solve problems. And they help us understand others.


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