Author Archives: Natalia Vivas Velasco

The value of the unexpected for wellbeing [Reflection]

Beyond all the process to do live music events and make the people share their fears for songs… there is a constant in all my interventions, the “surprise effect”… people who don’t know what song will be shared… or workers that arrive and find a music in their reception. This creates a curiosity for the new… and maybe this curiosity for the new is something that the daily life of people at work is lost… since they can fall in the routine….

Breaking the routine with music or art in general, could also generate this connection with the three spheres of wellbeing? psychological, sociological and physical?  Personally, I’m someone who doesn’t’ like the routine, does why I avoid taking longer projects… I like variety and feel rewarding moments. Also is an important surprise is designed to create a positive emotion… and for it, the research is the clue… I dream in the future any company could hire a musician to work for the wellbeing, design songs, creat ambient music, support people wellbeing by research, understanding rhythms, projects. Someone who could be part of the team and work for and with them indirectly.

By the other side, I also dream my project of sharing fears could be connected with a music provider that could  use artificial intelligence to make easier the process to chose a song and analyse the words in the fear, create tags, among others… also it will be important to create a profile of fears of people,  and try to analyze what is happening psychologically with the help of professionals. I mean is not only about the fear is about be sure that we are helping.

Hearing and healing
When I start my research I was diagnosed with vertigo, and there I learn the importance of the ear for the human equilibrium. I was in a medical evaluation when I had several simulations of disequilibrium with movements and noise…  without the ability to hear our body will move completely weird and our mind will be completely affected. This causality has made me think more about the importance of this project for the mental health and the brain… we can create more scenarios to hear…. not only music, hear others, hear sounds of the world and nature, I know these mindfulness aspects are a little bit trendy, but being mindful is the ability to be present with all the senses, as society we have been completely visual… is time to get back to the ear. And it seems more people is understanding it… NHS is using sounds or recording songs to help patients with dementia… at the same time there is a project of NHS so in 2030 doctors will be prescribing arts to relieve anxiety and depression.

 

 

The hiddenemotions.org launching

After analysing the results of the first intervention where I started on Instagram to interchange fears with songs, using the free system “Weebly” I set up a simple website open to people to share.

www.hiddenemotions.org

Main constrains

  • As a simple website I don’t have data base to analyse or keep the data, I did everything manually so it took long time to answer.
  • The website was iterative because first people didn’t understand that the song to share was not related to the fear… was mostly to support or relief
  • Also I have to explain why to use just the email, because is the only tool I had.
  • Because everthing was manually it was hard to organized what song for who.

General Results

In 48 hours more than 10 fears were shared, for choosing the songs I found the support of some friend according to the genre… even though most of the people choose “surprise genre”, for the song chooser

Now the song criteria were to find a lyric and rhythm to change the fear for more confident.

Fear shared Song sent
Of new beginnings!! We are on a verge of moving. Am I going to be able to be the best version of myself during this chaotic time? How do I don’t get lost in everything that’s going on? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTvJXXXijgo
I’m afraid of being unemployed another year in a row. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK1Kd-uL-mc
Hacer las cosas mal / Doing things wrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HJX-1-_AAY
Getting fired
Failure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWo-02Hsab4
Not performing https://youtu.be/pO40TcKa_5U
Not delivering as promised. Providing mediocre results. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMQhn7Wh98A
-Of not performing as my team and line manager expect. https://youtu.be/OpVBC_MYBD4
I had a sexual harassment situation…. I’m afraid of my safety.  (!!!!) https://youtu.be/Vet6AHmq3_s

In order to receive the feedback it was defined a small survey to identify de user perception of the song

Reflections

Even though people didn’t answer the survey, by sharing the fear it’s possible to conclude there is a trend of unhealthy fears… something the people is concern about that is based in assumptions and not a direct danger, also the current worried of performance could be a good insight so people could have into the companies better ways to measure their performance and have more certainity what they are doing god or wrong. Also to improve the project it will be important people give a little bit more context.

About the sexual harrassment report this is a new breakthrough that makes me think in the huge need to connect the project with authorities or organizations that protect workers rights. Also for the future website to have more ways to interact, measure, or help people will create a real impact or the change expected. The idea is to go beyond the song and the song becomes a pretext.

Approach with the Guildhall School of Music to scale the live music intervention

One of the most important struggles with the live music intervention idea is all the costs that are around: Musicians performance, transportation, lobby in companies, marketing among others. Thinking about the possibility of scale the project, and start to offer it as a service, and thanks to the contact from a violinist friend, I was connected with the Research area of Guildhall School of Music where I present my project and did the request of future collaborative work to involve students, and here is their answer

——-

Dear Natalia,

 While I don’t think that I’ll be able to become involved in the project, I have provided some information below that I hope you will find useful.

  • If you are interested in hiring our student musicians, I would direct you towards our External Engagements department. They are able to connect you with musicians within the school and enable our students to work professionally at fair rates.
  • For more general information about live performance costs, I would recommend using the Musicians Union website. They have a great deal of useful resources, including information about recommended rates for various types of performances, template contracts, and articles/resources about various issues within the field.
  • The Guildhall School runs its own Creative Entrepreneurs scheme, a year-long incubator designed to support creative enterprises. You may find it useful to look around the website to see the type of support that we would typically offer to entrepreneurs on the scheme. You may also find their Twitter feed useful, as they regularly post articles with advice about running creative and social enterprises.

I hope that the resources above are helpful for your project. Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind regards,
Research Coordinator

 

Stakeholder feedback about live music intervention

After the intervention in One Web, those questions where sent by email to the Facility Manager of the office, who was present and recording all the reactions.

  1. Comparing to other days in the office,  what do you think the music did to people and to the workplace?

I think that the majority of the staff were positively affected by the music, people were generally more happy, and it formed a talking point for many for the rest of the day!

  1. It is normal the interaction between colleagues early morning? Do you think people become more talkative because of the music intervention?

Yes normally people will have a chat over coffee in the morning, but I think there music gave them something other than work to discuss in the morning and encouraged more engagement than usual.

  1. Have you received any personal feedback of people? How was it? Has someone complained or said something negative? (negative is also important for us) What do you think we should improve for a future next intervention like this?

The overall feedback was very positive, people were very surprised by the music and said it put them in a good mood, and so having live music in the office is definitely something we would consider for the future. Some people were not sure how to react – I think some wanted to stay and listen more, but were not sure if they could. The only near-negative feedback, is that a couple of people commented that maybe a flute was not the best instrument as – as a solo – is not as “warm” as a violin or piano, so maybe in the future a different instrument could be used.

[Intervention] Fears and Songs 1: Results

Fears

  1. No tener la posibilidad de crecer. Algunas veces siento que no soy valorado por la empresa. Don’t have the chance of being promoted. Sometimes I feel underestimated by the company.
  2. Pasar toda mi vida en la misma tarea. Spending the rest of my life performing the same task.
  3. No mostrar o tener las competencias necesarias para los retos que me ponen. Not being competent enough for the new challenges that emerge from my role. 
  4. Tomar la decisión de renunciar después de todo el esfuerzo que hice para tener este trabajo. To accept my decision to quit after considering all the effort that I made for gaining my position
  5. Mi jefe es muy desenfocada My boss is unfocused/uncentred.
  6. Que no saben o entienden lo que hago My work colleagues do not understand my role.
  7. Quedarme aqui Being stocked in this work place.
  8. No poder hacer lo que me gusta. Being restrained to do what I do not like.
  9. Que comiencen a joder por la puntualidad They began to check our time arrival.
  10. Que la cultura me coma y no encajar Being absorbed by the organizational culture, and afterwards not fitting in my work place.
  11. Los otros humanos y sus intenciones. My work colleagues and their intentions/motivations.

♬ The intervention I dreamed comes true! ♬

After one month of lobby contacting more than 5 companies in the digital field, finally, I found the support of an important company who build satellites to provide internet to the world. They allow me to bring a flautist into their workplace, just into the main reception. Here some highlights and learnings.

The setup

  • I rent 3 devices in the CSM Loan Store
  • One camera to record the people faces
  • One camera to record the general place
  • One audio recorder to have a backup of audio as evidence
  • Three days previous to the intervention I send a Survey Available here

Note: One day before the intervention I visited the place to ensure where to place the cameras and how to prevent any disturbing situation for other offices or employers.

The repertory:

With the help of the flautist, we define a repertory with a mix of baroque and classical pieces, we also add some commercial songs, because according to my research knowing a song previously increase the level of emotional connection.

The day of intervention

With the support of facilities Manager and Coordinator, we did the setup early morning 8:00 a.m., we play the repertory from 8:35 to 9:05, reaching around 14 employees and a group of 5 visitors.

Reactions

  • People got surprised, smiled and did eye contact with the flautist
  • Most of the people didn’t understand exactly what was happening
  • When they noticed the facilities coordinator was in the opposite side not all of them show the emotion they project in the video face.
  • Some of the employees say hi to the coordinator and say a gesture of “thanks”
  • Other employees were moving around to connect with some others and share LIVE MUSIC HELPED PEOPLE TO RECONNECT WITH EACH OTHER TO SOCIALIZE BEFORE TO WORK
  • Most of the people behind a room window where more engaged and expecting the next songs, also they were moving.
  • The 5 executive visitors where really surprised, facility managers were concerned about the expectations or if they wanted the music got stopped for their meeting but they didn’t have any issue, also the wanted to listen.

Learnings

  • The music could be connected with the morning coffee or breakfast so people know it is for their benefit and they understand better how to react.
  • The morning music could help to the “work onboarding” so people can be easily prepared for the day.
  • The repertory needs to be better chosen to don’t repeat songs and don’t disturb people who already arrived.
  • Since people socialize there should be a

Preliminary  results

  • People got engaged and show their happiness during the day
  • Some people have contact to ask if this could happen everyday
  • Some employees talk about their musical capabilities and share with others “I play the piano, I play the flute”…
  • Stakeholders feel really happy whit it an participate with people conversations. MUSIC CREATE CONVERSATIONS, MUSIC IS THIS THING TO TALK ABOUT BEYOND THE WORK
  • I also send a short survey to measure people perception of the intervention, this is the most important answer:

 

 

 

 

Stakeholder Interview: The Human Resources Manager

Thanks to the woman networks that I currently belong, I found a Human Resources Manager from a multinational company of marketing analysis. The main findings.

  • Normally Human Resources areas defined his intervention plan with a year in advance so they can define budgets: for workshops, medical support, interventions, career development, among others.
  • Currently, Wellbeing is just seeing like – healthcare -, or related to sports, yoga, and massages. Mental health is just checked in a standard review ONCE a year (!) that is made for external parts of the company.

About live music in the office
According to the Manager, the idea to bring classical music to the office was interesting, BUT needs to have into account the following considerations:

  • Normally live music into the office could be related to any event or upcoming company campaign, it is important to articulate the music with an outcome so people understand why the company is offering that. Just to have an opening and a closing of the intervention.
  • This could not be applied in all type of companies because depends on the flexibility and the schedule they have for meetings, calls, etc. So it is important to do it in transitional moments (arriving in the office early morning, after lunch or after office).
  • It is important the volume, tone, and closing the cycle with an email, or flyer so people understand why that music was there.

About acoustic box
This sound really exciting for the interviewed, thinking as a place where people can get in, listen to sounds, scream or have a mental relaxation. But she has the following concerns

  • The box shouldn’t be in an open space or where everybody can see who is getting in.
  • This should be in a quiet space (she suggest areas like upstairs floors, or terrace, etc)
  • It needs to have some rules to avoid people get in with phones or use it for phone calls

IMPORTANT: Stakeholder talked about agencies of healthcare, training etc, to hire their services. She finds the interventions I shared like an opportunity to create an agency who provides bespoke mental wellbeing services for companies, that could be contacted and added in the budget at the beginning of the year.

 

The Acoustic Bucket Intervention [iteration 1]

This week by Instagram, I asked my followers to use a bucket as their personal box to sing. I just achieve two participants, but those are my learnings:

  • I need to consider safety to avoid people got stocked or ill because of a bad use of the bucket. Both participants said it felts insecure, humid and hard to take the picture to confirm they do it (because they weren’t alone). Also, I should think about claustrophobic people, that may not be so able to do it.
  • Even though the intention was to relief anxiety by singing, both participants were more engaged for the “fun” of having a bucket on the head, so more than calm they meet again with their inner child.
  • Even though was not directly involved, by sharing the Instagram pictures a lot of people wrote having fun seeing my friends with the bucket on the head…. so indirectly I did others make laugh, and it could be also an opportunity to think about.

Reflection: Could I combine music, sound, and humour to relieve anxiety and connect with emotions? How does the box should be to provide safety? How could I do this should be in the workplace?

I’m thinking to create an acoustic box to manage anxiety into companies, but I’m a little bit stuck here because to test it I will need a more formal device. I was thinking to use an old closet, encouraging people on the streets to sing inside… however I just to figure out some logistic issues, to transport the closet, ask for permission. I also taught to continue with the bucket idea but using my clown experience and try to make people accept the challenge on the streets… but it was just a desperate action.

 

 

The almost “hippie” documentary that opened my mind for my project

Between gods, birds, awesome lights, energy and harp sounds… I found the following documentary to understand:

 

  • The importance of “Mi” musical note in human healing… Could I use the expression hearing and healing as my tagline?
  • The relation of birds, chants and the creation of the harp
  • The musical brain states… every note activates something in the human brain to help him to go be relaxed, alert, medidate, sleep… etc

 

  • An also that when we born we have born with a specific note