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The Power of Music


Music is a very strange and powerful concept and it can be used to enhance or worsen our mood. It can make us behave and act in a certain way, it can give us hope in times of despair and motivation in times of hardship.

“Music... will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

To produce a musical master piece is very complex. It take years of practice and experience. It takes trial and error to hit the right notes at the right moment with the right timing, the right pitch, the right tempo and tone of the note which is held for a specific amount of time. There are also different lengths of silence between each note, often pauses which builds suspense, excitement or disappointment.

So why am I talking about this? Well I recently came across a film that I hadn’t watch in years. It was a scene in the film that reminded me what one of my coaching mentors had taught me about coaching. In the scene the teacher is teaching the pupil how to play the piano and the pupil makes a mistake so the teacher says:

“Music should flow like a language, child. Listen! Joy, Sadness, you understand? Changing a single note can turn joy to sorrow.”

From the film ‘The Peacemaker’

‘Nocturne in F Minor’

Where it is very easy to listen to this music and appreciate how beautiful it is, how the notes are in perfect harmony together which in turn then make you feel a certain way about the music, maybe it reminds you of a situation or a specific person, whatever it is it has an effect on you in some way.

This is the same with coaching. Coaching, when you listen to it, observe it or you are being a part of it, seems easy and natural and if you watch top coaches their performance 'flows', it is easy to watch, and there is a sense of comfort and confidence. Just like the music, the way a person coaches will affect the audience in different ways. It is vitally important that coaches are aware that ‘Changing a single note can turn joy to sorrow’. If you say something to a player it can change their outlook on the sport, their team mates, you as the coach, even themselves. A good coach can motivate like a good piece of music can. A good coach can give players hope and joy. A good coach can recognise when to pause and to be silent and let a message sink in to players to let them interpret it how they see fit. A good coach recognises when to use a soft quiet tone or a LOUD AGGRESSIVE TONE in order to work in harmony with player’s emotions.

‘Clair de Lune’

Take a moment to listen to these two pieces of music and see if you can relate them to your coaching practice.

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