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Building Teams Through Music

Posted 4/20/2016 by UHBlog

Does team building sound like music to your ears? We can help.

Building Teams Through Music

Music is a shared experience. Among workers, supervisors, caregivers and patients, it can be used to help team building by increasing trust and communication.

“As we look at society and culture, the one thing that has always brought people together is music,” says music therapist Seneca Block, MT-BC. “It's important in our rituals as we use music as a linchpin in everything from weddings to funerals. The oldest human artifacts we have are musical instruments, leading us to realize that there has to be some deep, societal need for song for it to have lasted this long.”

According to Block, human beings are the only animals on earth that can synchronize themselves to another’s beat or rhythm. It is a very human thing to do.

People use music therapy to address non-musical goals, he says. Making music has been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety and pain
  • Increase cognitive stimulation
  • Provide support for caregivers and patients

“Music has endured psychologically because it is the essence of trust and communication,” he says. “This spills over into other aspects of life where trust is important.”

In addition, studies show that music stimulates production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is related to mood, motivation, memory, attachment and learning.

In the workforce, team building and communication is often the desired outcome. When making music in a large group, you’re creating a sense of trust, Block says.

Large-group music sessions help participants realize how different parts of an organization work together and complement each other. For example, when using a drum circle, Block starts with the “mother drum”, then layers on different rhythms and instruments. All of these instruments – and their players – have to work together in unity so they can create the desired harmony. According to Block, it’s a great way to provide a glimpse into the inner workings of a larger group.

“When you go to a concert, the music is pumping and soon the crowd is jumping in unison,” he says. “It’s the epitome of a team environment as strangers huddle and stand together with little thought to the need for personal space. The music helps them do that.”

Seneca Block, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist at UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Block or any UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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