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The importance of attunement

The importance of attunement

When arts meet science

Who: Selma van der Haar, educational researcher at the School of Business and Economics

CD: Bach Concertos, Janine Jansen

Target group: all students

It is actually not about the Bach Concertos CD by violinist Janine Jansen, Selma van der Haar, assistant professor at the Department for Educational Research and Development, mainly wants to say something about the bonus CD that comes with it: Bach Trio Sonata. On the reverse side of both CDs it says (“in tiny letters, which would suggest that it is not a marketing strategy but sincere”) by Janine Jansen and Friends. “You can tell that these friends clearly had a lot of fun during the making of this CD. One can play pieces by Bach in a purely technical way, but is that music? You have to get into it, get into a flow. Art is not just about the end product, the process is perhaps even more important. Musicians can call up this inspiration by talking about who the composer was, what he meant by the piece, but you also have to feel it. That is when it is purifying, separates you from daily life. And that is what the musicians have achieved here.”

Van der Haar carries out research into how teams work, how they attune their objectives. “There is something musical in that: attuning. I think that it works the same in teams as it does with musicians. Sometimes a team is attuned right from the start, as soon as you join in it feels right. Other times team members may have the idea that everyone has the same objectives and the same idea as to how to achieve them, but that is not the case at all. Then you have to talk about it, just like the musicians. What exactly is our task, how do we want to implement it?”

She gives heart to students who have to work in a team with members they don’t get on with. “It all depends on everyone’s attitude, but if people are willing, I think one can get very far without liking one another.” As long as the attunement is good and people enjoy what they are doing. “I have a deep belief that when people work on something with pleasure then the product will be better.”

This piece, by the way, could also have been about Mozart, but that the subject should be classical music was immediately clear for Van der Haar. “As a child I only ever listened to classical music. When friends turned up with Madonna, I said: who?” Since then, her horizon has broadened, but her love of classical music has remained. “It is a feast for the ears.”

In this column lecturers recommend art that throws a different light on their field than textbooks do

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