MBA students participate in experiential workshop with the Cavani String Quartet

Photo of Cavani String Quartet and Ellen Van Oosten

This summer, professional master of business administration (MBA) students in the Leadership Assessment and Development course participated in an experiential workshop with the Cavani String Quartet at Severance Hall. 

In this course, taught by Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Ellen Van Oosten, students examine the broad topic of leadership through three lenses: self leadership, team development and effectiveness, and developing authentic, positive leadership at the organizational level.

The workshop, “Coaching Strategies and Techniques: Building Empowered and Collaborative Teams by Applying Principles of Chamber Music Pedagogy,” focused on strategies for effective coaching, leadership and collaboration in self-directed teams.

“I am deeply grateful to the Cavani String Quartet and the Cleveland Orchestra, two of our world-renowned neighbors in University Circle, for the rich learning experience they provided for our students,” said Van Oosten. “We were treated to a behind-the-scenes look into the passion, purpose and practices that together create distinctive excellence. Students left inspired in mind, body and spirit and informed around practical insights to apply in their learning teams.”

For the workshop, the quartet performed an “out-of-the-box” presentation about creating and maintaining a collaborative and productive rehearsal and performance. The quartet played a repertoire––from Beethoven to Bruno Mars––as a catalyst to explore topics, such as generative team building, the importance of listening, how to alternate between leadership and supportive roles and essential communication techniques.

The musicians in the quartet include Annie Fullard, Eric Wong, Catherine Cosbey and Kyle Price.

“Playing chamber music is a catalyst for deepening the expressive power of music, through connection and team building," said founding member and violinist, Fullard. "The process of living in a chamber-music world illuminates the importance of connecting with each other and strengthens our humanity. The focus of this seminar is to incorporate a team-building philosophy for problem solving, to bond, rather than divide a group, in other words, to demonstrate the art of collaboration.”

At the end of the workshop students shared what their biggest takeaways were from the experience. Part-time MBA student, Brooke Kahl, said, “The music was such a treat, and the way they demonstrated synchronicity was inspiring. The practice of deeply listening to those we interact with––demonstrated through various exercises [at the workshop]––seems like a true opportunity for expanding understanding and care. Listening is certainly a theme in this course, and I see the value of it highlighted all around. I'm grateful to the Cavani String Quartet for further illuminating the benefits of deep listening.”

Part-time MBA student, Adam Schroeder, said, “The Cavani String Quartet was an excellent opportunity to observe effective team harmony. The correlation between a string quartet and team synergy relies on the successful cohesion of individual personalities. For this to occur, I learned that the group must utilize style, communication, and passion for creating chemistry. In similarity, team members must respect each other’s abilities and utilize them to produce an effective outcome. Ultimately, this experience presented countless methods of group synchrony. I look forward to highlighting these myself with future team experiences.”

Another part-time MBA student, Laura Bentley, reflected on the experience and said, “The importance of individual preparation was a helpful reminder from the group as we entered into our learning team experiences. As someone that needs time to review material and process it before I can form an opinion and/or idea I appreciated this comment. Individual preparation is very helpful when entering a group conversation so that team members feel confident in their ideas and can appropriately discuss them as a group. I also loved that the Cavani members mentioned the importance of fun and having a sense of humor when working with others. We cannot separate ourselves into different personas and need to exhibit our full self and that includes fun and humor!”

Read more about the Cavani String Quartet.

Learn about the Cleveland Orchestra Education Programs.