• Danielle Hughes

My Brain Doesn't Work That Way


Love Me Some Symphony


Last week I had the pleasure of attending a day-of rehearsal for the NY Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. I love the symphony and in recent years it’s become something I try to attend more often. There’s something so calming and yet energizing about witnessing and hearing a live orchestra. Not to mention one of the best in the world. Because the symphony is such a passion of mine, last year I became a Friend of the NY Philharmonic, which basically means I give them money and they give me some perks as a thank you. One of these perks is the chance to attend a rehearsal. 


My Boss Rocks


The rehearsals are held in the morning, so I’m also really fortunate that my boss (that’s me) let me play hooky from work. If you’re a client, rest assured your work is still delivering on time! It was so funny to see the performers in their casual clothes. Not a black dress and tuxedo in sight. All you saw was a sea of jeans, sneakers and sweatshirts. The conductor was even in socks! It was so humanizing to see these incredible world-class performers as regular people. People you might run into on the subway or at the store. And yet, their talent is truly mind-blowing. 


Your Brain Did What?


The performance was comprised of three different concertos and symphonies. And while we think of an orchestra as playing older, classical pieces, one of these was written more recently. The composer, an Australian violinist, was actually there because this was the NY Philharmonic premiere of his piece. I can’t fathom what that must have felt like for him. The pride and probably disbelief that this was happening. But what I really can’t conceive of is the ability to compose a symphony in the first place. 


Your Genius is Not Mine


Think about it. Not only are you writing a piece of music for one instrument. You’re writing music for EVERY instrument. And your brain works in such a way that you understand how they should all work together to create a magical and triumphant sound. This is incomprehensible to me. My brain just doesn’t work that way. 


So that got me thinking. Obviously we’re all wired differently. We all have special gifts. We all have things we’re good at. Some of us exceptionally so. But how often have you thought about how our brains simply work differently? How that means we process things differently? Understand them or don’t at all? When we’re communicating to an audience, how often do we step back and think about how that message might be received by someone whose brain doesn’t work like ours? Obviously a composer doesn’t need their audience to understand how they’ve written specific pieces for specific instruments. Only that those sound good together and create a pleasing sound.


Think Different


But that sound might not be pleasing to everyone. Those components put together could be off-putting or worse, create no emotion at all. I’m not saying we all need to understand every facet of creativity and creative genius to appreciate it, but I do think it’s worth stepping back every now and then and thinking about how someone who isn’t like us might understand what we're putting out in the world. Because, while we don’t need everyone to be our audience or even to like us, we're always trying to connect with as many people as possible. And sometimes that means, thinking a little differently.


So my challenge to you this week is how can you think differently in your messaging? I don't mean moving away from your core values or brand positioning, but is there a way to reframe something to appeal to a different aspect of your audience? Give it a shot and then let me know how it goes. Or better yet, let me help. 


I want to think different


And, if you're looking for some inspiration, or just some serenity, this was my favorite piece they played. Benjamin Britten - Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes"

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