Singing is booming. More people than ever before are joining choirs, and the physical and mental health benefits of singing are becoming widely known. Fitting music around families and a job can be hard – but excitingly, some forward-looking businesses are becoming aware of the possible benefits of music-making in their workplaces.
Celebrating their 10th birthday this year, Music in Offices is at the forefront of this trend. Their work brings participatory music to businesses across England, with other parts of the world surely soon to follow. I spoke to their founder, Tessa Marchington, to find out more about their work.
What is the mission of Music in Offices?
When I started my aim was to bring music into the lives of people that otherwise wouldn’t normally have access to it. What I love about music is its power to bring people together – music is, of course, a shared language – and we’ve found that singing or playing together can break down the hierarchies that you often see in the work place and lead to more effective communication.
What led you to start Music in Offices?
I was mainly responding to experiences I had when I left the Royal Academy of Music. The Academy was such an inspiring place to be, and there was so much music going on. In contrast, a family member who used to play the guitar was working in a law firm and told me how much pressure he was under, and to make music just once a week would really help.
Why is this work important? What effects do you see?
It gives people confidence, and brings the arts into daily life. People can be themselves while they’re making music, whether it’s playing as an individual or being in a choir. People can often be isolated at work, perhaps going through the day without talking to each other. But members of our choirs often take me aside and say how it’s transformed their working life, and how it’s had a cascading effect on their work environment. They’re able to respond to situations differently and more creatively, and to form new relationships – these things are key in a working environment. I’ve never lost my passion for what we believe in and how important our work is – we’re able to bring music into their life.
Where do you see Music in Offices going in next few years? Could you see this happing across the world?
Potentially – I’ve actually just come back from Lisbon, and I’m going back at the end of the year to work with a bank there. Our work is something that they hadn’t come across, and they’re interested in the concept.
We have been developing our leadership programmes too, using music as a medium to explore creative approaches to different styles of leadership. I’m particularly focused on how people might use music to explore diversity and inclusion, and to connect between generations – to use music as a bridge. Some of our leaders are at the top of their game, others are young musicians who have just finished studying and can work with us as a bridge between student and professional life. They can also give back to our participants – they can share their experiences, and share their knowledge of and passion for music, encouraging new audiences and an increased appreciation for the value of the arts.
Music in Offices works with business to enrich their work through music. For more information visit www.musicinoffices.com.