KEES, nonprofit executive search, classical music

Enriching Your Wellness and Leadership Potential – Give it a Try!

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By Yoo-Jin Hong, Executive Search Manager

Did you know that September is Classical Music Month? Our team at KEES, a national Executive Search Firm for nonprofits, is delighted to join in the celebration of this significant month. It’s a fascinating celebration that I only recently learned about. Back in 1994, following a resolution passed by Congress, then-President Bill Clinton declared every September as Classical Music Month. As someone who has dedicated a substantial part of her career to the classical music, arts, and culture sectors, I was at once chagrined and indifferent. Sure, I adore classical music but is it essential for it to be top-of-mind for society at large? I found myself contemplating my lifelong relationship with classical music, which began at age 4 on the piano and later evolved into professional training and performing as a flutist early in my career. Although I no longer perform, I may have underestimated the profound impact of continuing to engage with this music and its relevance in our communities.

Classical music, commonly defined as ‘art music rooted in the Western European traditions,’ is sometimes considered a thing of the past or an exclusive domain for the elite, and it faces great challenges related to equity and inclusion (topics for another discussion). Yet, when we strip away its societal issues for a moment and look at the sheer effects of its sounds, melodies, and harmonies, we can find a trove of benefits that often go unnoticed.

Wellness Benefits of Classical Music

Whether listening at home, attending live concerts, or learning to play a musical instrument, classical music can be a resource for health, stress management, and overall mental and emotional well-being, which can extend to all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional.

Research has shown that listening to the rich sounds of acoustic instruments can serve as antidote to stress. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing stress hormone levels and promoting relaxation. This mental composure can help us stay calm and focused amidst life’s chaos. Moreover, classical music’s therapeutic qualities extend to improving our cognitive function. It has been linked to increased creativity, problem-solving skills, and memory retention—qualities that can boost our professional performance.

It’s not just about solo listening. Attending live concerts can be an incredible experience. Inside the concert hall, the acoustic surround sound can be felt throughout the body, not just heard by the ears. There is something profoundly moving about music washing over one’s entire being. Also, being in a venue with other people creates a sense of community and connectivity, facilitating meaningful social interactions. Shared experiences at these events can strengthen bonds, enhance empathy, and enrich our social lives.

Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

Imagine how these effects could positively shape our leadership capabilities in the workplace. Cultivating a calm and collected demeanor can enable us to navigate high-pressure situations with grace and confidence. The cognitive benefits, including sharpened minds and enhanced problem-solving skills, can be catalysts for innovation.

Another crucial quality for effective leadership, which I most often hear from successful CEOs and executive leaders, is the people skills. Attending live events and nurturing empathy for musicians, composers, and fellow concertgoers can easily translate into creating community and meaningful connections with colleagues and teams at work, leading to a stronger sense of shared mission and collaboration.

So, even if you’re not a classical music enthusiast, why not give it a try this September? It’s like a well-being booster that can transform how you handle stress, perform at work, and connect with those around you. Classical music of any form and style can become your new secret to a happier, healthier life.

Join us this Classical Music Month in celebrating the vibrant performing arts organizations in your cities and communities. Discover how they can help elevate your overall health, enhance your professional life, and unlock your leadership potential.

For more information on elevating your organization to its greatest potential, please reach out to KEES Executive Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong at