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Mindful Communication in the Music Industry

“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.” – Jeff Daly

Mindful communication is exactly that – being deliberately conscious about the way you communicate with others. We can go further by describing it as the awareness of your thoughts, actions and motivations. The ability to communicate effectively with fellow musicians, event organizers and promoters can be a major contributing factor towards your success.

The inability to communicate effectively can lead to an unproductive and disappointing outcome. Let’s consider a real life scenario amongst two band members.

@john: What do you think about this idea for a song I’ve been working on?
@matt: It’s not for me, I don’t like it.
@john: Hmm, maybe it needs a little more work.

@john: What do you think about this idea for a song I’ve been working on?
@matt: Nice work John. I’d personally like to hear it played a bit faster, though.
@john: Good idea. Let’s see how that will sound.

Which response from Matt do you think was better?

The key to mindful communication (interpersonal competence) is really as simple as thinking before you act. This will ensure that you can act and react in the most appropriate way. Notice the role that Matt’s judgement plays in the first scenario. It acts as a corrosive element to effective communication because it devalues and reduces John’s idea. Our brains are wired to constantly monitor for threat or reward so you can normally expect some kind of defensive response from someone who feels they’re being judged.

Another thing to realize is that there is something useful to learn from any given situation. You should practice being open to new ideas or information, even if this information may contradict your own firmly held beliefs. New information can help you reconsider old-fashioned ways of thinking as well as challenge beliefs and attitudes that may be inappropriate. There is always something new to learn, and by simply trying to connect with the experience of others you can open yourself up to a constant unfolding of learning.

Being mindful about your conversations is really the key to interaction filled relationships with opportunity and discovery. Trying to incorporate these elements into your interactions in the music industry will be of great aid. We’ve all heard of situations where band members or musicians did not get along. This situation, known as “bad vibes” can have a toxic effect on the well-being and proper functioning of a band, and in most cases is the cause of its demise.

Next time you strike up a conversation, ask yourself what value can I add rather than what I can get from it. Kindness, patience, understanding and humor are a few attributes that can go a long way in having fresh and fun-filled conversation.

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Dean Hailstone

Dean Hailstone

Dean is a professional guitar player, recording artist and touring musician. He has over 20 years of playing experience, and has performed hundreds of live gigs during his career. Read more...

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