Marketing – and all that Jazz

09 November 2012

Marketing – and all that Jazz

Noel Dennis

Jazz improvisation with its emphasis on creativity, flexibility and innovation will be applied to the teaching of marketing in an event at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Noel Dennis, Associate Dean of Learning, Teaching and Quality in the Glasgow School for Business and Society at GCU, will show how the principles of jazz can be used in business organisations to develop improvisation and creativity.

A professional trumpet player who trained with Gerard Presencer, one of the world’s finest jazz trumpeters, Mr Dennis believes the dynamics of jazz improvisation can be applied to many disciplines, including strategic leadership, marketing and education.

He said: “Some of the core issues come down to questions of teamwork, collaboration and communication.

“You may have a nice idea, but need others to turn it into a brilliant idea. You can’t create a solo without a good rhythm section. A competent board of directors is a bit like the rhythm section.”

And he believes that another lesson from jazz is the importance of “letting ideas flow freely” and improvising around strategic business and marketing plans rather than sticking rigidly to them.

He added: "It is hard to stick rigidly to plans in the current climate. What isn't articulated in the marketing literature is the need for improvisation. Music can bring well-known lessons to life in a way a textbook can't - we need new ways to hammer home our messages.

"Education and learning, and indeed working, have to have an element of fun."

Together with international jazz star Pete Churchill, who is Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Mr Dennis, will introduce university colleagues to teaching using improvisation techniques found in jazz musicianship.

The jazz session is part of the annual Learning and Teaching Showcase at Glasgow Caledonian University, where the winner of the 2012 Principal’s Award for Learning and Teaching will receive her award.

Dr Jane Guiller, lecturer in Psychology in the School of Health and Life Sciences, wins the award for demonstrating leadership and excellence in learning and teaching. 

The Learning and Teaching Showcase takes place on November 12, 2012, 12.00-2.00pm at Glasgow Caledonian University’s LEAD (Learning Enhancement & Academic Development) department, William Harley Building, Level 1, Room H113.