You Are Your Media • John Sobol

This is the fourth in a series of new posts that explain how you can apply the lessons of jazz to collaborate successfully.

The legendary Wes Montgomery The legendary Wes Montgomery

Remarkably, in jazz, there is no mechanism for rejecting or criticizing musical statements made by other members of the band.

In jazz there is no way to say no.

All you can do is make the best of what has been offered, even if it was poorly conceived or confused.

Similarly, another improvisational idiom – improv theatre – employs a concept called ‘blocking’, which means to reject a dramatic suggestion made by someone you are improvising with. The very first thing students of improv theatre are taught is not to block.

Blocking kills collaborations of all kinds.

When someone contributes an idea to a collaboration then the worst thing that can happen is for that contribution to be immediately rejected by…

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