If you're wondering why we chose music for experiential activities, it wasn't an accident.
Admittedly it started because our founder Lisa Cummings is a drummer who doesn't like boring training classes. It would have ended there, except that neuroscience tells us that improvising through music helps us become more innovative and to explore who you are. The tie to strengths-based development is perfect.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins did an important study in this area. Charles Limb is an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins and faculty member at Peabody. He and Allen Braun, the other researcher, were curious to learn more about what happens in the brain when engaged in a highly creative activity like musical improvisation. So they tested it with an fMRI scanner to actually record the activity in the brain.
They found that musical improvisation helps you:
- Get out of your self-editing mode so you can explore who you are rather than processing through who you think you're supposed to be.
Strengths application: work how you already work best rather than fighting the uphill battle of mimicking other people's approach to work. Careers are extremely individualistic bodies of work. If you can tap into your best ideas, using your top natural talents, you'll gain productivity faster than you would if you were using someone else's methods.
- Deactivate the evaluating part of your brain so you can tap into your innovation potential rather than censoring ideas before they've been explored.
Strengths application: when people are discovering and first applying their natural talents, they need to understand it like they're learning their own language. Musical conversations are syntactic rather than semantic. That's a fancy-pants way of saying that rather than simply waiting around for their colleagues to stop talking so they can answer, this process helps them understand themselves and their teammates in a deep way. They're processing the information in a way that brings a new level of understanding (about themselves and their teammates).