speak less, listen more
“Music’s only as fine as the silence it’s compared to…”
- Bill Champlin
I love music. I’ve gone through various phases and tastes, but I always come back to appreciating a well-written, well-performed song. Many moons ago I was into an incredibly talented local band, and after hearing a few live shows and a couple of albums, I noticed that the guitarist left no space in any of his solos. It was all notes, all the time, start to finish. His solos were great, but they didn’t breathe. They left no room for anything else to happen. It didn’t diminish my love for that band, but it did make me realize something: A great song is a conversation.
One of the greatest bands in the history of everything is Toto, and one of the greatest songs ever recorded is “Rosanna.” Not because it makes you (and by you, I mean me) dance and play air trumpet involuntarily, but because it’s five-and-a-half minutes of stellar musicians saying and playing their piece, then allowing the next one have their turn.
More importantly, this song illustrates that sometimes it’s what happens in between the notes that allows music to become something special. For example, while most people remember “…Meet you all the way, Rosanna, yeah…” there’s a point where the lyrics step aside so that one keyboardist can speak, then wait for another keyboardist to respond, then turn to the horn section for a quick side conversation, and then eloquently hand things over to the guitarist to move that conversation along, after which the spoken lyrics return to continue the story.
If you listen to the entire song with that in mind, it’s remarkable how all members of the band made nearly equal contributions.
The work we do at CVWmedia is, by nature, projected outward. We’re speaking to an audience through visuals, most often on behalf of a client. That’s a one-way conversation, since we generally don’t have a chance for viewers to interact with us. But the process of getting there relies heavily on listening more than we speak. Listening to—and hearing—the needs of our clients is vital in order to provide the best possible product and service.
“When I saw that, I felt like you had truly listened to me, and that you cared about what I had to say” is the best client compliment of 2018 thus far, to me, because it told me that in the midst of our concept pitches and we’re-the-experts production notes, we had stopped speaking long enough to hear the other person in the room. We got to make our form of music for that client, then sit back and enjoy the results. From here, we’ll listen more and continue our pursuit of the next masterpiece.