Excerpt from a recent interview: Part I
Interviewer: Hi, Jim. Thanks for joining us today.
IdeaMaestro: My pleasure, glad to be here.
Interviewer: So, how would you explain to our audience the essence of IdeaMaestro… perhaps in a sentence or two?
IdeaMaestro: It’s much like jazz improvisation: You listen, and take one part of the conversation, or motif, improvise upon it and send it back. The ideas can be bounced back and forth in real time and developed or the listener can take the idea that was sent back to them and carry it with them to improvise in their own mind.
Interviewer: So, you’re role is like a facilitator?
IdeaMaestro: Not exactly. What comes to my mind when we say “facilitator” is the traditional 3rd party in the room who’s removed from the conversation and is just providing a… transactional service… like they’re steering the meeting according to the agenda and driving the dry-erase-board.
Interviewer: You’re saying you don’t provide a service?
IdeaMaestro: Oh, yes- it’s more of a knowledge service. Look, anyone can stand at the dry-erase-board and keep us all on track- parking lot this, action item that- but not every one can instantly jump into a conversation by listening to only a few sentences and instantly understand their language- their tune- their motif… and truly connecting to their song… or business idea.
Interviewer: Hmmm… wouldn’t you already have to know their business plan and the history?
IdeaMaestro: No-no… I’m saying that you have to know what to know.
Interviewer: I don’t follow…
IdeaMaestro: OK… let’s take musicians, particularly ones playing in different ensembles from a jazz combo to an orchestra… they need to know what to expect from the other players. And they need to know their role in relation to the other players. It’s to be adaptable and in the moment: all ears and all eyes.
Interviewer: To this point you’ve explained the instrumentalist perspective. How does the maestro role play into all this?
IdeaMaestro: Well… there are two answers to that… and the second answer is contingent upon the first. So, in reverse order it’s both knowing how and knowing where to objectively direct or conduct the ensemble’s tune prior to reading the music score. For example, In jazz big band drumming, your job is to set up the next phrase or section… that mean’s you have to know what’s going to happen next before the rest of the ensemble does. It’s similar to what’s said about Michelangelo being able to see the figure in the block of marble… he just reveals what’s already there.
Interviewer: Oh yeah, I remember that from a Gen-Ed art history class.
IdeaMaestro: Let me ask you this: what comes to mind when I say the word Counterpoint?
Interviewer: Well, I think I recall seeing a news program with that name… wait- what show was it?
IdeaMaestro: Ha. Yeah… You’re referring to point-counterpoint, a “call and response” discussion format. So, the understanding that in counterpoint the two parts happen linearly is a misnomer. In the musical sense, counterpoint overlaps and interweaves… and can happen in parallel… So, in word conversation we’re taught to speak one-at-a-time, therefore a discussion is expected to unfold linearly in a “call and response” fashion.
But in musical conversation, there can be simultaneous discussions happening within one ensemble. Particularly in an improvisatory ensemble. So, if we apply this technique to word conversations and discussions say, in a meeting or brainstorming session… the results can be much more spontaneous and organic because there’s no delay… no “call and response” formality.
(…to be continued…)