UMS/Ross Design Jam
SUN, OCT. 16, 2022

Wynton Marsalis Joins UMS/Ross Design Jam

What do a world-famous jazz musician and a design jam have in common?  When it comes to +Impact Studio techniques, far more than you might imagine! During the middle of the day, the University Musical Society and the Ross School of Business +Impact Studio invited Wynton Marsalis to join the design jam on innovative uses of new tools and design methods to generate new formats and equitable access to the arts. The event was planned to coincide with a weeklong UMS residency with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and was sponsored by the William Davidson Foundation Director Discretionary Philanthropic Fund of the United Jewish Foundation.

Who better to headline a design event on new tools for equitable arts access than Wynton Marsalis? He is a trailblazer in leading, partnering with and supporting many culturally diverse performing artists; and the scope of his artistic outputs ranges across styles including classical, jazz and big band, and technical outputs like concert, film, dance, recordings and curation of older materials. His advocacy for the humanities and ties between education and communities played directly into this event’s partnership between the business school and Ann Arbor’s leading arts organization, UMS. Even the generative and improvisational thinking of the jam tied into Marsalis’s jazz background!

The format of the visit was a discussion with Mr. Marsalis about his insights on the intersection of business and music. Marsalis began by sharing his insights and thoughts on the interactions between the four pillars of society (religion, politics, business, and civics), through which cemented the sacredness of the arts and the intersectionality of business and art. Mr. Marsalis also shared his 12 Principles of Business, which include:

  • Enspirit your surroundings
  • Seek to extend your family to the community and help them help you
  • Catalog all of your work for the future
  • Constantly simplify your documents and your administrative staff’s work for clarity
  • Insist on conveying accurate metrics
  • Integrate access to the work of everyone involved — brag about others
  • Embrace the creativity of all stands (positions)
  • Provide a point of entry for all possible people
  • Recognize that others aren’t out to get your stuff
  • Offer everything all the time to everyone — model transparency
  • Value metric success, but not at the expense of the ultimate mission
  • Celebrate your collective history and tradition while moving forward, so that values are shared with the next generation (this process doesn’t go from kids to adults)

After the design jam, attendees received tickets to a live UMS performance with Mr. Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Hill Auditorium.

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader, an educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He has created and performed an expansive range of music from quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras and tap dance to ballet, expanding the vocabulary for jazz and classical music with a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers. Always swinging, Marsalis blows his trumpet with a clear tone, a depth of emotion and a unique, virtuosic style derived from an encyclopedic range of trumpet techniques. When you hear Marsalis play, you’re hearing life being played out through music. Marsalis’ core beliefs and foundation for living are based on the principals of jazz. He promotes individual creativity (improvisation), collective cooperation (swing), gratitude and good manners (sophistication), and faces adversity with persistent optimism (the blues). With his evolved humanity and through his selfless work, Marsalis has elevated the quality of human engagement for individuals, social networks and cultural institutions throughout the world.

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