Put the Power of Music to Work for You

When you hear the song “New York, New York” how does it make you feel?

Playing the music that gets people happy

Playing the music that gets people happy

 Do you find yourself kicking up your heels?  What happens when you hear a Michael Jackson song?  Do you think of his sudden and tragic death? Whether we realize it or not, music can put us in a mood that affects our behavior for better or worse. Once it nearly cost me my job…….

As a professional pianist from Down Under I used to travel around the world playing the piano in five star hotels and at one time I was performing at a popular piano bar in the Munich Hilton in Germany.

My knowledge of the German language consisted of one word: “Ya” meaning “Yes.” (But you already knew that, right?) One evening a man requested a particular German song that I had never heard of. In broken English he asked that if he bought the music for me would I be able to play it then? Being new to the country and eager to please I said: “Ya!” and thought no more about it. A couple of nights later the bar was crowded and every seat was occupied at the piano. Up came the man with a sheet of music in his hand. I began playing the song.

All at once there was a deathly hush throughout the entire room. The people sitting around the piano were looking at me very strangely. It seemed the whole place had stopped operating completely. The atmosphere had turned dark and tense.

Suddenly the General Manager of the hotel came dashing in with a security guard by his side. He grabbed the sheet of music and passionately tore it up into little pieces in front of everybody. Then he turned to me and shouted: “Don’t EVER play that music in this country!”

I was stunned, frightened and confused. How could a single simple song cause such a shocking reaction? What had happened to the uplifting energy that was present just a few minutes ago? Later I found out. The song was written under Hitler’s rule and the words were about Nazi Germany becoming the supreme ruler of the world. No wonder every one had stopped dead in their tracks! This song reminded them of a horrifying time in their past history….shameful memories of a tragic war and human injustice they would rather forget.

Music evokes emotions in people. It is a universal language that holds the power of joy and pain. It has been scientifically proven that music has a powerful affect on the human brain. So what are YOU listening to?

Tune into a good mood when you’re sitting in traffic, writing that report or simply cleaning house. Pop on the CD that always soothes and inspires you. Are you responsible for arranging your company meetings? As people are arriving have Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” playing. Watch how it instantly uplifts everyone, eases tension and creates an atmosphere of positive expectancy. Try it at your next training session on team building. Pick a song from each culture and generation in your workplace and build an interactive exercise around it. I guarantee it will do three things:

1.  It will grab everyone’s attention and maintain it. Why? Because music energizes people. No more snooze fests!

2.  It will set the tone for a good time – people learn more when they’re having fun.

3.  It will build better relationships between your team members – it’s difficult NOT to get along when you’re all singing the same song!

Poof! It’s magical. It’s all in the power of music.                  



2 Responses to “Put the Power of Music to Work for You”

  1. George Smith Says:

    Hi Theresa, Your story about the sheet music in Munich reminded me of times while I was stationed in Baumholder, Germany 1956-58. I had the position (MOS) of Battery Clerk for my Commanding Officer and also entertained. i would drive him around to various gast-hauses (taverns). The Germans would sit me down at the old upright piano and proceed to give me steins of beer. Thank goodness my hands were busy playing so I couldn’t drink them. My CO would down them though. That’s why he had me to drive him around. My wife joined me over there and that’s where we started our 53 1/2 years of marriage, baby-sitting for his family (6 kids). I fortunately didn’t have the experience of that sheet music, ha. That’s the first time I have heard of the tune.

    Your blogs are exciting. I look forward to each one. Keep up the good work. Music is the universal language, and “The Whole World Smiles With You” George Smith (I believe I sent you a CD of me at the theatre organ).

    • theresabehenna Says:

      Many thanks for your kind words about my blogs George – glad you’re enjoying them and taking time to comment. Interesting about your time in Germany. Small world.

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