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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hodges

Mastering Chaos: The Musicians Way



There is something about the way music is created and performed which can help us all work and play better together.


The Wisdom Of The Collective The Essentials:


The Mastering Chaos: The Musician's Way Model is based on the interaction between two aspects of human behaviour; how well organised we are as a group, team or organisation, and what we base our decisions on; reason or intuition.

Ranging from Formal to Informal outlines the autocratic to the anarchic. It is also indicative of the presence or otherwise of leadership. At the most controlled end of the spectrum lies totalitarianism, chaos lying at the other end. In the middle lies varying degrees of formality or informality.

Bridging Reason & Emotion produces for us a range which varies from the strictly rational, evidence-based scientific approach right across to the way we get a 'sense' of something, we might just take a guess at what's happening, and even the mystical. Placing oneself centrally on this spectrum gives us the flexibility to use both our intuition and our rational abilities in equal measure.

It needs to be said though that this includes the mental space of believing something is 'right' even when we're wrong.

By combining decision-making with levels of group formality or informality it is possible to define four STATES which appear everywhere in musical creativity. This is helpful because whilst we can readily witness these states in music, beyond music, whilst they are still present, they may not be so accessible. Musically they show the broad spread of human interaction and influence. It encompasses both the best and, if taken too far, the worst of us.

Making music is what humans do that makes us different from all the other species on this planet. When we make music we aim to invoke the four states:

Structured

Inspiring

Challenging

Spontaneous

It is important to be aware that the states are not completely separate and distinct; they have a relationship with each other. Knowledge and experience of each of the states is strengthened by familiarity with the other three.

Remaining in one state is therefore usually an unhelpful strategy. Moving flexibly between each as required is far more effective. For example, you might intuitively sense something feels right but you sensibly flip over to check you have the data (in other words towards Reason') to support your position. Although to some this is obvious you might be surprised how few humans actually do this.

In addition to having flexibility across the states, it is necessary to be aware of which state might be more appropriate for any given set of circumstances. Examining what might 'trigger' you into a negative state is a good place to begin. Knowing your triggers is helpful but knowing what state to replace it with is essential. 'Triggers' materialise from a pattern of responses you have repeated over time. Any of the four states described in the model could be the most appropriate response. Experience in the four states will tell you which one is best. It is worth finding the time to explore these states whenever you can to see what effect they have on your psyche. One of the safest spaces is in music, both listening to different types and also playing music of different kinds especially ones outside your comfort zone.

Learn more about ... The Four States or goto The Mastering Chaos Blogs for more about everything!

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