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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hodges

Establishing Trust The Musician's Way

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Musicians tend, by the way they work together, to build trust with each other, creating a strong foundation for musical collaboration. This foundation can lead to more creative, rewarding, and enjoyable experiences for everyone involved.

This applies to both musical and non-musical settings.

In many non-musical activities, trust might be overlooked and yet it is probably the biggest differentiator in many endeavours. Trust just makes things easier. It smooths the way. In business for example, marketing costs reduce because of how well you are perceived in the marketplace. A trusted organisation is naturally attractive to its clients. 5 star reviews abound for a trusted organisation. Taking your time to develop trust within your team or organisation also helps with employee retention and even cost reductions. Trust maintains a steady flow of inquiries and when times are hard your business is likely to survive much better than those who haven't paid attention to this value. It goes without saying that your profitability is much more reliable.

Trust eminates from the core of the organisation and radiates outwards from there through your immediate team members, out to the rest of the organisation and beyond. Trust is a value which all organisations can work towards. So much can be achieved when a strong level of trust is in place between team members. Trust is a very precious item in an organisation, possibly THE most precious. Once they know they have it, team members will do everything they can to protect such a valuable asset.

Trust is a fundamental component of any successful musical collaboration. The musical process invokes the development of trust, which will encourage an openness to new ideas, a tendency to take creative risks, and an innate willingness to improve. This can lead to more creative and rewarding experiences for everyone involved.

There are a number of things that musicians can do to establish trust with each other. One important factor is communication. Musicians tend to communicate effectively with each other in order to understand each other's musical intentions. This is done through both verbal and nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is particularly evident. Deeper listening is essential as one might expect. Responsiveness is essential. Even peripheral vision is brought into play. A violinist, for example, is simultaneously reading the music, following the bowing, keeping an eye on the section leader and the conductor. On top of all of this is the constant checking of tuning and musical expression.

Another important factor is reliability. Musicians need to be able to rely on each other to show up on time, be prepared, and do their part. In the performance itself, there is also a sense that 'the show must go on'. Knowing that your colleagues won't let you down is a tremendous assett in any sphere. Reliability creates a sense of trust and security that allows everyone to focus on the music, a quality which can be applied to the non-musical arena to great effect.

Finally, musicians need to be supportive of each other. This means offering encouragement, constructive criticism, and help when needed. When musicians feel supported by their colleagues, they are more likely to take risks and try new things.

Establishing trust takes time and effort, but it is essential for any successful collaboration. In doing so it is possible to create a positive and supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

The process embodied within The Musician's Way will lead to trust both within the group and also with its audience or clients. The principles are outlined below: ​

  • Be honest and transparent with each other.

  • Be adaptable.

  • Be open to new ideas.

  • Be respectful of each other's time and talents.

  • Be willing to help each other out.

  • Be supportive of each other's successes and failures.

​Put these principles into operation in your organisation by taking the time to have an open discussion with your team.

Everything in the above list will work for any organisation be it musical or non-musical.

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