“Collaborative music making is one of life’s true joys.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 114
It’s difficult to describe the magical feeling of synchronized music making.
Suffice it to say that when we make music together, we ascend to loftier planes.
But to reach pinnacles of collective expression, we require particular skills.
This post outlines the areas of expertise that I identify as cornerstones of successful collaboration: musicianship, communication, culture, and strategy.
Please see Chapter 6 of The Musician’s Way for detailed guidelines for effective musical collaboration.
The 4 Cornerstones of Musical Collaboration
Collective success begins with individual musicianship. For that reason, before forming a group, ensure that you and any potential collaborators are sufficiently advanced – both musically and technically – and that you possess compatible tastes and abilities.
Then, once you commit to an ensemble, ahead of rehearsals, along with learning your part, study complete scores and listen to any available recordings so that you absorb a whole composition and become familiar with all of the parts.
“When we make music together, we ascend to loftier planes.”
Skillful collaborators communicate promptly and clearly, regardless of whether they’re dealing with musical or logistical matters.
Supportive communication habits, both verbal and non-verbal, forestall interpersonal friction.
Group culture begins with professionalism, the pillars of which I define as punctuality, preparation, courtesy and integrity.
Author Daniel Coyle, in The Culture Code, additionally points out that effective groups concur about their purpose and establish cultures of psychological safety such that members feel free to share ideas and critiques.
This cornerstone encompasses an ensemble’s rehearsal, performance and business strategies.
Productive groups rehearse efficiently, prepare thoroughly for concerts and recording sessions, and embrace positivity on stage and off.
They also adopt best practices for managing their business affairs -e.g., contracts, record-keeping, insurance, finances, and agreements – so that their activities support long-term creativity and sustainability.
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The Musician’s Way provides far-reaching guidelines to advance practice, performance, collaboration and career skills.
© 2018 Gerald Klickstein