In a recent conversation with a musician*, he talked about how everyone hears music differently. A person’s physical make up as well as their life’s experiences causes music to resonate on an individual basis. For example, a person cannot hear music at a beat faster than what their heart is able to pump. “It makes me crazy when people talk about normalizing education,” he said, “because there is no normal. Everyone has a unique experience when listening to the same music.”
For decades, we have tried to make a common experience for the masses. In his 2011 book We Are All Weird, Seth Godin argues that the masses are gone and the digital revolution has allowed for the creation of tribes, small groups of people with common choices and culture. He believes we need to cater to these small groups and allow them to create their new normal instead of forcing them to conform to one.
Think of what your organization can do to embrace the spirit of individualization. Can you run events simultaneously to allow people an element of choice? Could you ask for input and attempt to cater your offerings to meet different needs? Or how about highlighting different aspects of your programming in different ways for different people?
The more you can speak to individuals, the more likely it is that they will actually listen to you.
*Wes Luke, violinist for Spill Your Beans