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Successful Relationships Keep in Tune

Posted by NancyWilliams on January 5, 2011

The stage is set. The instrumentalists have taken their places and are warming up with random melodies that seem to have little or no connection. Now, the time has come. The lights dim and a hush flows through the room as the principal violinist moves to center stage calling the orchestra to order. Silence. The pitch is given: one clear tone that resonates across the stage. One by one, section by section, each musician tunes to that single pitch, knowing that for the orchestra to successfully blend and create the music it desires, the instrumentalists must be in tune.

Certainly, each musician needs to keep his own instrument in proper condition and ready to perform. Each one also brings his own creative talent to the setting with the goal of taking the audience on a magical, musical adventure. However, the key to harmony for the group and a pleasurable experience for listeners is to have all instruments tuned together, building their collective sound from the same foundation. The result? Music, as the composer intended for it to be experienced.

This need to be in tune reaches beyond the stage of the music hall. It’s a vital part of each relationship in our lives – family ties, friendships, connection with coworkers and neighbors, even within organizations, teams and churches. Just as each instrument in the orchestra has its unique part to play in creating the music we enjoy, we, too, offer our own unique talents to our relationships. In a healthy, successful connection, there is a place for each member to contribute those talents and to be part of the process of creating and strengthening the relationship. When we begin by tuning to the same pitch, we’ll all connect to a common foundation and our individual sounds will blend in a way that creates true harmony. We’ll experience it ourselves and we’ll influence those around us in a positive way.

A musical thread runs through our family, and our two sons chose to be in the school band while growing up. They were part of a large, military style marching band that won numerous state recognitions for their precision as well as their sound. Watching and listening to them in the stands and on the field at halftime was a treat for this “band mom.” They impressed and entertained us with some of the most complicated-looking drills and musical arrangements.

As I watched this well-oiled machine at work, I noticed right away that each practice and each performance began with two important steps. First, before a note was played or a step taken, their undivided attention was on the director as he communicated his goals for them. Whether in the band hall or on the sidelines before the game, they had to tune out all the distractions, set aside their differences, and draw together as one. His message was strong and clear as he told them what they were to accomplish and just how they could make that happen. They tuned their minds to the same focus and their instruments to the same pitch. With a common goal, the fundamentals in place, a unified sound and a well-trained drum major in the lead, they were ready to step out and give an outstanding performance.

The band paraded up and down the football field, in what seemed like such intricate patterns and vibrant waves of color. I watched as each member filled his own unique position, having learned when, where and how to move in a way that fit precisely with everyone else in the band. The cheers from the stands, activities on the sidelines, even bright sunshine or chilling rain didn’t distract them. They kept their eyes on the drum major and worked as one to offer an impressive performance every time.

If we are to experience success in our relationships within musical groups, sports teams, businesses, community organizations, churches, and families, we must take steps to gather our members together and tune to a common pitch. Then we must also take time along the way to remove distractions, reaffirm intentions, retune as needed, and then continue together toward our goals.

Consider your own relationships, if you will. Are they in tune?

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