Jazz Up Your Interpersonal Skills


Presentation Zen has a great piece discussing how jazz handles the experience of connecting with other people. It’s really a great fusion of the concepts behind being a musician and also being a great communicator and social being.

Most students of jazz will not go on to be professional players. And few students turned on by the creative arts in school will go on to be professional artists. And that’s OK. Knowledge and understanding of the arts and the experience of pursuing excellence with, say, an instrument or a brush, etc. can teach students a lot about life and the value of focused effort, patience, teamwork, perspective, creativity, problem solving, and a million other things. All things that will serve the student well no matter what profession(s) she ends up dedicating herself to.

The first few items off the list:

  • (1) “The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.” (Duke-Ellington)
  • (2) “Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.” (Paul-Desmond)
  • (3) “Don’t bullshit… just play.” (Wynton-Marsalis)

You can find the rest of the list here:

Jazz and the Art of Connecting – [Presentation Zen]

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