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Learning lessons from Jazz for Management

Students organized a music event in a Berlin Jazz club

What is it that Jazz improvisation and Management have in common? And what lessons can managers learn from Jazz? Students from The B.A. Creative Industries Management and B.A. Music Production worked together to create a unique and interactive jazz concert in the renowned Berlin club Kunstfabrik Schlot. Studying at hdpk means bringing creativity and business together, for example in such artistic events, and also building new bridges between the arts and management.

Picture Credit: Aariya Talcherkar

The focus of this concert-talk was to experience how jazz bands enhance flexibility and dynamic interaction in order to encourage cooperative work. The jazz band played several variations of the famous tune “Bye-bye Blackbird” to illustrate different approaches to leadership: All musicians started by playing a standardized version – which sounds harmonic but can however turn out be inflexible. Then they shared leadership with one player inspiring the others, who followed and then gained back the lead. They also included disturbances and irritation to illustrate how new things can emerge, like innovation.

The band used non-verbal forms of communication and gestures, also drawing on their embodied and aesthetic knowing to find new ways of interaction. In between tunes the band (piano: Claus-Dieter Bandorf (hdpk); drums: Rainer Winch; bass: Andreas Henze) discussed what happened, moderated by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Biehl, Director of hdpk’s Institut für Weiterbildung in der Kreativwirtschaft” (IWK)

There is a lot to learn for all who work in today’s dynamic times: With constant changes in the creative market, workers have to be agile and quickly respond to changes in their workplace. Through the appreciation of each individual and personal expertise, a constructive exchange can be promoted to combine different ideas. Creative challenges need to be faced together. Musical boundaries were consciously crossed in order to find different ways of intercommunication and keep a harmonic tune.

Students organized the event in their “Project Management” modules, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Svenja Tams, and Claus-Dieter Bandorf, and invited all employees of SRH Hochschule Berlin and Dresden into the club. Dividing the broad variety of tasks to plan the event, every student got the chance to take over responsibility and actively contribute their own ideas to the project. During the event preparations, the students challenged themselves to explore the edge of their comfort level and to stretch their learning into new and different areas. Encouraging happy accidents and unexpected discoveries, like the importance of time-management and relying on other people, led to new insights in the context of communication and the sharing of work.

Not only the personal dedication, but much more the communication between the students and the client, the IWK Institute, provided a good learning experience and ean xample of what the everyday work-life in the creative industries looks like.

Text: Nora Enning

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Prof. Dr. Brigitte Biehl


für den B.A. Creative Industries Management & International Management (Creative Industries) | Professorin für Medien- & Kommunikationswissenschaften | Direktorin des "Institut für Weiterbildung in der Kreativindustrie (IWK)"
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