Maestro Roger Nierenberg made his New York conducting debut at Avery Fisher with the Pro Arte Chorale and Orchestra. He was soon invited to conduct operas in two successive seasons at the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center. Thereafter followed long, successful tenures as Music Director of both the Stamford Symphony in Connecticut and the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida. Numerous guest conducting engagements followed with many of the great American orchestras, including the symphony orchestras of Austin, Baltimore, Charleston, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New Jersey, San Diego, St. Louis, and Utah as well as New York’s American Symphony Orchestra, Washington D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Abroad he has recorded with the London Philharmonic and conducted at both the Prague Spring Festival and the Beijing Festival. He has collaborated with many of the most renowned solo artists and composers of our time.
During his tenure with the Jacksonville Symphony, the seeds were planted that would lead Maestro Nierenberg to a startling departure from the conventional, through the unparalleled creation of The Music Paradigm. Through his experiences engaging with community businesses and civic leaders, he became curious about the challenges and opportunities faced by organizations in times of rapid change. He quickly realized how crucial issues of organizational development could be powerfully brought to life within an orchestra. Thus was born The Music Paradigm, which has taken Mr. Nierenberg to the podium of over ninety different orchestras, before hundreds of different organizations from civic groups to Fortune 500 companies, in twenty-four different countries. Many of the lessons learned on this journey are presented in his book Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening which was honored in 2009 as the Best Leadership Book from 800-CEO-READ.
The Music Paradigm
The Music Paradigm uses a symphony orchestra as a metaphor for any dynamic organization, particularly one dealing with a period of exceptional challenge or change: a merger, a restructuring, new leadership, change initiatives, stretch performance goals, and many more. During a Music Paradigm session, the executives are seated among members of a professional orchestra. From the first moments, it is clear that something has changed—that the meeting paradigm has shifted in an important and interesting way. The conductor leads the musicians through a series of carefully crafted exercises that help illustrate key qualities, reactions, and practices of high performing business teams—strategically designed to be in line with the needs and challenges of the executives and their organizations. The session is a high-impact learning experience, a powerful personal and team journey, and exciting instructional entertainment.
Among the many valuable benefits, the sponsoring organization is able to achieve the reinforcement of key strategic messages, build momentum for addressing critical issues through a shared experience, clarify strategies that may seem too vague or complex, and provide executives with a safe environment for rethinking their assumptions and behaviors. The session provides a highly memorable group experience that generates fresh insights long after the meeting is over, and lessons that become part of the organization's dialogue and culture.
How & Why It Works
After seating the executives inside the orchestra, Maestro Nierenberg asks the musicians to do more than simply perform. He leads them through a series of exercises that demonstrate basic and important truths about the functioning of an organization. Mr. Nierenberg meets in advance with senior executives of the sponsoring organization, to explore their issues and goals, and from this meeting a desired outcome for The Music Paradigm session is determined. Only then does Mr. Nierenberg design the appropriate exercises to be demonstrated by the musicians during the session in order to simulate the organization's issues and goals.
The interface of the musicians with the conductor is similar in many ways to the relationship between an organization and its leaders. The conductor may be viewed, for example, as a CEO or team leader, and the instrumental families (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion) may be business units or teams. Together, they find the best solutions for working together and producing an effective outcome. As the session progresses, executives discover new insights about their current situation and their working relationships with organizational leaders and colleagues.
In brief, The Music Paradigm animates key messages, not just relates them; involves audiences, not just informs them; and demonstrates results, not just describes them It provides a creative framework for rethinking leadership styles, philosophies, and effectiveness.
When is The Music Paradigm Appropriate for Your Company?
The Music Paradigm will benefit organizations dealing with a period of exceptional challenge or change. The most typical issues include: restructuring or reorganizing, change initiatives, cultural transformation, innovation and creativity, globalization, new leadership, merger or consolidation, cross-functional teamwork, new mission or strategy, and high performance. Regardless of the issues and the desired outcome of the organization's meeting, the Music Paradigm session improves greatly the chances for success. It is a simulation of how leaders and teams deal with change in any organization.
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