Manage this: corporate bands?

Watch out! The Battle of the Corporate Bands—for amateur, company-sponsored rock bands—is back.

According to the press release:

'Fortune Magazine, NAMM, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum joined together to celebrate the benefits of music-making and the positive effects that music has on employee morale and productivity in the international business world.'

They're singing to the choir here at blfr. But we especially love the names of these bands.

Among this year's contestants are Aeroroot from Frontier Natural Products Co-op and the SAP's from Johnson & Johnson. Past competitors have included the 4-Inch Studs (from MBH Architects), the Flying Other Brothers (from various Silicon Valley companies), and—our own favorite—Manage This (from Symantec).

On a related note, I came across a reminder—on a Braun Syncro Shaver website no less—of the value of early exposure to music for a child's brain development. One study shows improved memory function from music lessons, with application to literacy, mathematics, and IQ!

It got me wondering whether early exposure to rock & roll (not at high decibel levels of course) has even more specific benefits for children than music in general. I don't know of any study that has tested this premise, but I know my own experience.

I was nine-years-young when, after subjecting myself to hundreds of hours of Little Richard and Chuck Berry, I caught a severe case of the rockin' pneumonia & the boogie-woogie flu—which turned into a lifelong affliction that has stubbornly resisted medical, psychotherapeutic, and spiritual intervention.

But the onset of this condition may have actually accelerated my cognitive development, because at that point in life I suddenly began doing quite well in elementary school—to the astonishment of family and friends.

Now if exposure to rock & roll in childhood helps develop certain abilities, then perhaps more intensive involvement in adolescence—learning an instrument, forming a band, getting gigs, etcetera—helps develop skills that will be useful in business (self-discipline, team building, entrepreneurial skills)?

Of course that would poke holes in the old narrative that rock & roll can be a dangerous force that puts youth on the road to perdition.

Speaking of Braun—a German consumer products company that I thought valued productivity—I was surprised to read this question on their website: 'Did you know that a man shaves the area of an 18-hole golf course in just eighteen months? 'Wow, that's got to be one funky golf course.

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  1. And Brian Jones and Keith Moon and and John Lennon, etc. etc. But we forget that without companies like Decca, EMI, and Capitol there would be no rock & roll as we know it. Of course it was the small business teams (the Beatles, Stones, Who, etc.) who created the products to begin with. Without their innovation, entrepreneurism, and iconoclasm there's nothing to talk about.

  2. The Big 4 own almost everything now -- Sony, Universal, Warner, EMI. This much concentrated power ain't a good thing. The music industry is currently on life support.

  3. Derek, I think the obit is premature, especially as we come out of a recession. But as the music world gets flatter and more competitive the big dinosaurs should continue to take a hit. (This hasn't happened yet with concert promotions in the US, but hope springs eternal.)

    To keep things in perspective here's a quote from a blog on "In the long view industry's health shouldn't be confused with music's health...Human beings seem to want to play it or listen to it as much today as they did two years ago, or two hundred years ago, or two million years ago."

  4. This is right down my ally.. having conducted hundreds of classes of young child .. I guess I refer to them as very young children - ages birth through 5. It's not currently a mainstream idea for parents to bring their babies to music class but it is becoming so clear to me now that this "very" early intervention makes an enormous difference. I now teach those children who I had as one-year old's, piano lessons at 7 years old. The difference between those children and those who have not had the same exposure is night and day.

  5. Vic, what is MOST amazing is what you told me once about working with infants - that at 9 months (or even younger?) they can reproduce musical intervals that you sing to them! THAT is a mind-blower. I wonder what neural pathways THAT opens up for the child!

    And to think that some public schools have been cutting back on music classes.

  6. I should add that Mister Vic is a world-class children's entertainer. In Massachusetts Vic teaches Music Together for toddlers and their parents; performs at children's birthday parties; gives private lessons in his home for guitar, piano, & trumpet; and performs for children at various outdoor venues. More info at his site:

  7. Corporate rock? Ewwww...I despised it years back and still do!! It seems that touring now has to be underwritten by a corporate sponsor, due to the huge expense of be it within reason.

    The Four Inch Studs? Sounds like a porno company band....imagine such products advertised at gigs.....heh!

    I wonder how much Braun spent on such research, but when you think about it, measurements of the shaving area could be compared with anything of any size.....

    I wish I had taken more music courses in school, and gone on to Berkely, though my Business Administration courses in college helped to handle the discipline of the business end of music.

    The music "business" will always be there, just differently with the internet being here. Who needs big record companies any more to get started? They still are needed, but not to get started...


  8. Nick, social media is doing a good job replacing some of the functions of a traditional record company. But Facebook (so far anyway) won't advance your recording and touring costs.

    Merrilee, thanks for the websites - which reminds me that the "Mozart Effect" is the name for this phenomenon. Perhaps if future studies can establish a link between early exposure to rock and increased brain development we can label it the "Weezer Influence" or the "Vampire Weekend Effect."

  9. Unfortunately some exaggerated claims have been made that just listening to Mozart will turn preschoolers into geniuses, so of course there's been some backlash. But there are now too many studies to dismiss the overall benefits of musical education for toddlers and young children. It's totally counterproductive for there to be any cutbacks in any of these programs now.

  10. Merrilee, from everything I'm now reading it appears that the first three years are the most critical for brain development. And it's important for the toddler to be actively PARTICIPATING in the music and not just listening. In 1998 Governor Zell Miller of Georgia requested the state to pay for classical music CDs for parents of all newborns in the state - as if listening to Mozart would make these infants and toddlers smarter. That was justifiably ridiculed by many. I think the state would have been better served by toddlers dancing to Georgia's own Little Richard.

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