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Jazz Teaches How to Work Together

Jazz Master Bill Cunliffe, teaches Organizations How to Work Together   


"What Can an Organization borrow from Jazz – from Bill Cunliffe, Grammy Award Winning Musician and Professor at CSUF" 

Grammy Award Winning, Jazz Master and Music Professor at CSUF Bill Cunliffe mesmerized the SCCUR attendees with a live breathtaking performance and a lesson you could not ignore. His theme was “What Jazz can teach us about working together.” He is known for his dexterity in blending classical and pop genres. Bill started his music career with his mother at age of 8 and at 20 influenced by the music of Oscar Peterson shifted his focus from classical music to jazz. He studied Jazz under piano legends Mary Lou Williams at Duke University and Bill Dobins at the Eastern School of Music. Bill also had worked with music industry giants, Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and James Moody. (Please click here to see his impressive achievements and bio online on Program Book.) 

Bill taught his lesson to the audience proving his theory practically; that the "Jazz; teaches Organizations How to Work Together." It was an impressive piece of music and a rare treat to the audience. 

“We are all connected to each other through music.” – Prof. Bill Cunliffe, CSUF 

This is the structure and benefits of JAZZ that an Organization can borrow.

       1.     Knowing the material, in Jazz, helps to flaw the music smoothly. And help make beautiful music. In the same token having in depth knowledge of your product/s or service/s the business can thrive.

“Knowledge is the key to success in business and life.”

       2.     Leading: Who’s in charge? Or is this a true cooperative effort? While playing jazz he showed us, how someone can lead and others follow, and sometimes all play in harmony.

       3.     Which Leads to Role Playing. What are our individual duties, obligations? When not leading creating a sense of harmony together and add value to what's being played.

       4.     I think Listening is the most important roll of all that Jazz teaches us. If you don’t listen to the music each playing could end up in different levels which leads to chaos and unorderly. It goes without saying that if we listen to our clients, vendors, partners, employees we could create a product harmonious with all. Which leads to the success.

We improve by listening and correcting and adjusting ourselves wisely. This does not mean doing anything blindfolded.

       5.     Not only listen but we have to respond just like in Jazz to make better music. In the business world by responding to the requests and concerns of others we can create a better product that brings company more revenue, and happy & loyal customers.

Although this is true which brings me to a question for this day and age. Do we really have loyal customers anymore? What about our millennials? They are the ones who shopped till they dropped on Black Friday trying to grab every single deal out there? I like to hear from our millennials on this subject.

       6.     Affirming is integral part of Jazz music. So is in business. 

       7.     Initiating in Jazz makes it better because if one is getting tired or losing a little bit the other person can pick it up. Business can follow the same theory. This is where the team players are valued. You bring up each other without pulling the whole company or product down. A pool of talents coming together without leaving gaps is hard work and hard to achieve. But if we play together we all achieve and shine together and make our customers happy.

The Golden words from the Jazz master when performing always say “Yes” to new ideas. Playing Jazz together, with separate rules is the beauty of Jazz music. "If I can’t hear someone, I play soft. And spend as much time listening. Step back and let them sort it out. Or you can step in and do it yourself." Bill Cunliffe

       8.     If you make others sound good naturally you sound good too. Golden rule in Jazz is “Do unto others as you want others done to you.” Which I believe should be the “Golden Rule” in the Business world as well.

We all while enjoying beautiful jazz music learnt a very valuable lesson to carry with our selves - ' how to work together for success.' Bill even had a beautiful Power Point Presentation to show us the lessons from Jazz. 



P.S.               CSUF - California State University Fullerton

                        SCCUR - Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research




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