Improvising Business

May 12, 2007

Over on Presentation Zen there’s a fantastic piece entitled “Jazz and the art of connecting”. If ever there was (another) argument for the value of an arts education, this is it.

“Jazz is inspiring to me; it’s lessons can be applied to other aspects of life”

There are quotes from 11 great Jazz musicians that can be applied, in a heartbeat, to any area of life, even (and most particularly) business. Can you apply any of these to your business? I know I certainly can.

“The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.” (Duke-Ellington)
“Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.” (Paul-Desmond)
“Don’t bullshit… just play.” (Wynton-Marsalis)
“If they act too hip, you know they can’t play shit!” (Louis-Armstrong)
“Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullshit and just play.” (Charlie-Parker)
“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” (Dizzy-Gillespie)
“You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.” (John-Coltrane)
“When people believe in boundaries, they become part of them.” (Don Cherry)
“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” (Charles Mingus)
“I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession. If you can, then it ain’t music…” (Billie-Holiday)
“A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not to dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves.”

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