Why your sitar & tabla lessons are the most important training for business

I am always being asked how to get more clients for call centers, data entry, and software houses. But, the type of answers people want are what I call, “immediate gratification” type answers. How can I get something now that I may or may not deserve or merit. If I were writing to a Western audience, I would talk about piano or violin lessons, but most of my readers are in India, so let’s talk about the veena, sitar, tabla and tambouras.

When you take music lessons, you learn a whole lot more than just music. You learn discipline (essential for any profession), impeccable timing, listening skills, sensitivity, and how to coordinate with others — especially if playing a raga with a tabla player.

Many times when we call Call centers, we get people who can hardly communicate, if they answer the phone at all. If we email them, the email doesn’t get returned. If you want clients so badly, what prevents you from answering your email? That might be the only medium for communication that someone could use to communicate with you. Additionally, we get the “hard sell” types who want to immediately lock you into a very constrictive contract without evening listening to what your needs are.

Listening skills
Then, the staff at these call centers sometimes speak too softly, or too loudly. If you had a musical background, you would realize right away that their pitch was off tune. Some of them have a pleasant or unpleasant tone. Anybody can notice this, but with a musical background, your brain becomes very much more sensitized to noise. A call center worker might put words together in ways that are hard for the client to understand as well. You will pick up on this much better with a musical background. As I stated earlier, the management also doesn’t always listen to what the client wants. Listening is critical to success in business and you will have a much better listening skills if you took sitar lessons.

In music, you have to play a sequence of notes, with sensitivity in a particular rhythm. Emails are similar. They need to be answered in a time sensitive way. You can not wait three weeks to get back to someone about a time sensitive issue and then say, “oh sorry”. If the tabla player plays 12 beats and then you have to play a few notes immediately afterwards — this is very similar to what happens in the world of business. Your client might send you a process that has to be begun on Tuesday morning at 5am. What if three hours after a process is started, you need to inspect a critical piece of work to see if the project is going as planned, and you miss that precise window of time? If you are not paying attention, you miss critical deadlines and get lose your clients. A few veena lessons will teach you about timing!

In business, analytics is very important. Knowing what the most important task to do at a particular time when you have limited resources. Sensitivity can help you notice more, and a lot faster. You will also notice a lot more details about what you are doing, and what is flawed and what needs to be fixed. Higher level business-people are much more refined in all aspects of their work.

Most companies have managers who are either unavailable, or who have trouble giving accurate answers to questions. In music, if there is even one flaw, the entire song, piece or raga can be ruined. In business, if you give wrong answers, your sale can be ruined. This type of accuracy training or discipline is irreplaceable and comes from studying music. Sure, business school can teach you a lot of principles, but tabla lessons teach you a sense of accuracy that can be transposed into any profession!

Clasically trained musicians make higher incomes!
If you look at people who are classical musicians in the United States, their average income is in the top 1-5%. They average around US$120,000 per year in income. People who just want quick bucks generally make around 15-40% of that amount. The discipline of classical music translates into good study skills which once again translates into higher level jobs and higher sensitivity in business skills. Sensitivity training is everything and your tamboura lessons will really help with this.

The moral of this blog is — think of your clients as tabla players. After they play their beats, you have to chime in!

(1) Classically trained musicians make higher incomes if they pursue professions
(2) The discipline of classical music translates into better study skills = higher income

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