The Close of The Year – A Time to Hit Pause

Music is everywhere at this time of year. From choral music to radio jingles and Victorian carols to 80’s favourites. But whether it’s Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, or A Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, music has the power to move us, bring back memories and create a joyful atmosphere.

Whatever you’re listening to this Christmas, the end of the year provides us with a natural pause and offers us a chance for reflection.

Ancient writers included a musical instruction known as ‘selah’ in the Psalms. Although unclear in it’s meaning, many take it to be an invitation for pause or reflection.

Composers of classical music will usually structure a symphony in four movements, often very distinct in ‘tempo’ or speed. One upbeat, another slow. Some even using silence to great effect. Whether it’s Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 or Haydn’s Creation, their use of silence is poignant and powerful.

2016 – A Challenging Year

For many 2016 has been a challenging year. Whatever your political views, both Brexit and the US Election have been divisive, bringing out the worst in many. The loss of gifted artists and actors – including Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen – has been sad and often shocking. And whilst many Western countries will count their blessings this Christmas, the people of Syria and Yemen will struggle to survive. For them 2016 has been a terrible and tragic year.

New Year – New Hope

For each of us though the New Year brings hope. The possibility of change, for the better. If we’ll take it.

At Moving Performance, we’ve had the extraordinary privilege of working on 5 continents this year. We’ve seen people in many cultures experience the power of music to overcome barriers, to articulate vision, and to equip leaders with greater skill. Music has been the means of inspiration and in the process we’ve had lots of fun!

We wouldn’t have seen any of this though if we hadn’t been prepared to stop what we were doing, take the time to discover what mattered to us most, and pursue it wholeheartedly.


2017 – A Time To Pause

What would the year ahead look like for you, if you took some time to pause and reflect on the one that’s almost at a close  –

  • What can you be thankful for? Whether it’s work, family or something else, what have you gained this year? How are you better off – stronger, better equipped, happier – because of a particular person, project or performance?
    • Consider how you can mark that gratitude: can you show that outwardly towards another person or perhaps inwardly, making a note of a specific date or detail, which you can remind yourself of during the coming year
  • What have you missed out on this year? Perhaps there’s someone or something that you wish you’d pursued but you held back out of apprehension or uncertainty. Or perhaps something was taken from you or you just didn’t recognise it as important until it was too late.
    • Consider how you can avoid that scenario again: can you recognise what it was about that person or project that meant so much to you and look out for opportunities to respond differently next time? Can you even put yourself in a place where those relationships or opportunities are more likely to occur?
  • What one thing can you pursue this year? Whether it’s personal development in something or a promotion, what’s the one thing that you have the ability to pursue?
    • Consider committing to a realistic but challenging goal for this year, break it down into smaller steps and make a plan you can sustain throughout the year ahead. It might look like bursts of energy followed by quieter periods, but – just like a symphony – each movement plays it’s part.

The Close of the Year

Samuel Holyoke an 18th Century American composer and teacher of vocal and instrumental music wrote ‘The Close of The Year’, to be sung ‘a capella’ –

So fly our months and years,
Thus roll the seasons on;
Till death the curtains drop,
And life’s gay scene is done.

O let each moment then
Be precious in our eyes,
And let our actions show
That we are truly wise.

If we are rich, may we
Be friends to those that want;
Nor their request refuse,
While in our power to grant.

If we are poor, let’s still
Be rich in sweet content,
And thankfully receive
The little heaven has sent.

Music as a Metaphor for Business

So whether your goals are corporate or personal for the year ahead, we’d love to help you achieve them. We believe music is a powerful medium for inspiring change and we provide programmes tailored to the size of your team or organisation, using music as a metaphor for business.