Kathy, our Production Manager, was up for our Creative Team's Friday Share last week. The team has recently been doing different topics around the theme of Music. In a fully immersive presentation entitled "Is it LIVE or is it Memorex?" Kathy showed (not just told) why live music is far richer and more complete than the listening with earbuds.

Om nom nom. 

Om nom nom. 

Kathy rejected the notion that high quality audio performance is the key to an elevated music experience. A full sensory experience, including the sense of community, is much better - even if that means that the music itself is not receiving your full attention, or that some nuance is lost because of the environment. 

To support her thesis, Kathy recreated an outdoor concert for us right here in our office.

The ping pong table became a picnic table. The floor became our lawn (she provided packets of cut grass for authenticity of scent - no I'm not making that up).

Sure, there’s the music. It’s there…but there are also conversations. Maybe crickets. Maybe a breeze in the leaves.
The sound of fair rides and squeals. At the zoo, some random wild animal calls.
This may bug you, earbuds person.  
Sad for you.
— Kathy Karner, Champion of Friday Shares

There was watermelon and sparkling wine and an apricot curry situation to spread on croissants. 

What I'm saying is: this was a nice way to start a Friday morning. A girl could get used to this. 

And then the strings showed up. 

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Kathy had enlisted her high school son Sam and his friend Maddy to come perform a cello duet for our office while we picnicked. Except there are not, as they told us, any appropriate cello duets. And so they arranged one themselves for us. 

"You kids get off my lawn!" said nobody. 

"You kids get off my lawn!" said nobody. 

So we listened, and we looked around, smiling at each other in disbelief at the lovely treat we were enjoying together. The windows were open, the breeze was refreshing, and nobody minded for a minute that it the comps on the wall were blown upside down. The traffic noises that inject themselves into our conference calls at the worst possible times seemed now to play along - a honk hitting just perfectly in between stanzas. We forgot what time it was, and were certain that we would be late to our next meeting, but it was just us internally planning and that could wait a few minutes longer. This was special.

Sam and Maddy indulged us in two encores. They might have wanted to get on with their day (some sort of bribe for coming to mom's office has been arranged), but we were a captivated audience. 

By the end of Kathy's share, there was no question in the room that she was right. Listening to music live with a community around you, absorbing the sounds plus the tastes and smells and all the other sensations, is the really whole package. It's certainly more memorable, and more relaxing, and makes for a better carousel of photos.