Meet MindZ, or as we like to call it, “Muziek in de Zorg,” is an initiative of medical students at Erasmus MC. This aims at making music a part of the medical world’s heartbeat.To spark connections between medical students and the music community, setting the stage for some serious scientific exploration into how music can groove into healthcare. Now, here’s the scoop – our very first session? We had the brilliant composer and conductor, Kent Moussault, spill the secrets on leadership in the classical music scene. It’s not your average project – it’s a symphony in the making!

Journey into Leadership and the Reflections of a Control Freak

After a long day at work, I rush to my first class. Punctuality is a big deal for me, especially when it comes to work-related meetings. I firmly believe that being on time shows respect and appreciation for others’ time. Plus, there’s that awkward feeling when heads turn as I fumble to find a seat – it’s a situation that perfectly mirrors my leadership style back at my company. I’m all about motivating others while keeping things under control. The burning question on my mind: Am I a born leader or just a control freak? Well, Kent Moussault is about to shed some light on that by the end of the class.

Inspiration from Antonia Brico: Breaking Barriers in a Symphony of Passion

Antonia Brico – source Wikimedia Commons

My knowledge of conducting is weak. Even though I attend numerous classical concerts, the magic of conducting truly struck me during the Harry Potter music concerts at De Doelen Rotterdam. Because the music is so relatable due to the films. In the film ‘De Dirigent’ I’ve learned a lot about the life of Antonia Brico, a Dutch-American conductor and pianist (1902-1989). She was one of the first women conductors and was the founder of the Women’s Symphony Orchestra (later Brico Symfonieorkest) to empower women in the professional music world. Her fight wasn’t just against gender inequality; it was about pursuing her passion for music. A dreamer, believer, and doer, Brico didn’t stop until she achieved remarkable goals. Some might say she was a born leader, a visionary, and a mentor.

Now, back to Kent Moussault, who shared three key leadership qualities in our class:

Kent Moussault |
  • Having a solid understanding of a subject, be it music or even learning to build a house via YouTube videos.
  • Taking responsibility for the group dynamics within your team.
  • Acquiring musical and didactic knowledge and skills for practical application – leadership through constant practice and experience.

To become a conductor, excellent imaginary skills are a must. In our class, he had us stand up, using a pen as a conductor pole, making moves with our hands, and leading with our bodies. Fun, but seriously challenging! Imagine standing in front of 50 to 70 people, instructing them in the blink of an eye. So, how does one practice to be a good conductor? Sure, it’s easier if you sing or play an instrument, but what if you’re not blessed with a big living room and an orchestra?

Kent shared five creative ways:

  • Be prepared – preparation is everything.
  • Constantly train your ears.
  • Work on your sense of rhythm – use a timekeeper during daily activities like cooking or driving.
  • Dive deep into music knowledge.
  • It’s not easy being a leader – it requires another set of skills.
Nirali Kartik performing during the Eindeloos India Festival 2023 in de Doelen

Leadership, whether in music or life, comes with experience and knowledge. Confidence is key, and maintaining a healthy relationship with your ego is crucial. Trust in others to gain trust as a leader, and remember, it all comes down to teamwork. The last golden rule of becoming an excellent leader is to be aware that nothing in life goes according to your own pre-planned master plan. Even for us control freaks, sometimes we just have to go with the flow.

Mahesvari Autar

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