Singing can improve your health and your team, WEC speaker says

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Singing can improve your health and your team, WEC speaker says

By Maria Lenhart, Journalist | May 31, 2022

Brian Allan, owner of Rock Your Business, knows about the power of music as a healing force even in the most extreme situations. The Scottish-born entrepreneur enjoyed early success as a singer-songwriter and music producer in Los Angeles, known for a remarkable ability to move and connect with audiences from the concert stage. It all came to an end when a family tragedy left him shaken to the core.

“I didn’t want to sing anymore, so I gave up my dream,” Allan said.

The dream stirred to life again after Allan relocated to Warsaw, Poland, in 2008. He decided to use music as a motivating force in the corporate world. However, finding just how to do that was not easy.

“Finally, I took some advice from Albert Einstein who said people who have talent should do things using that talent,” he says. “I realized that my talent is singing and engaging people. I saw that some team-building companies were using things like hand clapping and body percussion, but I didn’t see anyone using choral singing for bonding. So that was the start of Rock Your Business.”

Things quickly took off, with events for Pepsi, Nestle and dozens of other multinational companies. With Rock Your Business, Allan has taken team building to a joyous level, energizing audiences around the world by using a choral format designed to leave participants feeling like rock stars.

WEC: Your gateway to the new era of events. Learn more about Brian Allan and the rest of the exciting WEC speaker lineup.

“This team building is unique in the market—it integrates people and makes them so happy and energetic,” says Sebastian Kotow, CEO for the Institute of Behavioral Design in Warsaw. “Brian and his team can move people emotionally, inspire them and teach them how almost everyone can sing with power and engagement. It breaks the comfort zone and helps people raise their confidence in what they can achieve.”

However, as was true for many other event businesses, things came to a screeching halt when the pandemic hit. Then, as bookings started to come back, the war in Ukraine put a damper on new business. Realizing that “it’s hard to do team building when people are dying,” Allan decided to turn his attention to helping Ukrainian refugees, especially children, pouring into Poland.

“I took people into my home and helped put people into homes,” he says. “I helped get necessities to the kids. I was asked to entertain children at a small refugee hotel. It was there I wrote the song ‘Stand Up: The Time is Now,’ which was inspired by a refugee girl.” 

Since then, Allan has launched Rock for Ukraine, which to date has held choral singing workshops for thousands of refugee children throughout Poland. Rock for Ukraine is also in the process of forming the Ukrainian Children’s Choir, who will sing “Stand Up: The Time is Now” as their first recording.  

Allan’s next goal is to establish Rock for Ukraine Centers across Poland.

“These are places where kids can get singing lessons and find a safe haven through musical therapy,” he says. “I’m also going to a fundraiser for refugee kids at the national stadium here in Poland.”

Enabling children to cope with trauma and find empowerment through music has become what Allan considers to be the most important work of his life. For the Ukrainian children in his choral sessions, the idea is to give the young participants a sense of pride and enable them to express themselves during a time of deep trauma.

“They feel like they’re fighting with their voices, that they are standing up and being counted,” Allan says. “The Polish people have been incredible in helping Ukrainian refugees, but it can be hard to always feel that you are accepting charity. This is not charity, but a means for the children to feel that they are lending support to a war that many of their fathers and grandfathers are fighting in. Maybe someone in the world will hear us and it will help Ukraine.”

Allan’s presentation at MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC)—June 21-23 in San Francisco—will give meeting professionals not only a taste of what Rock for Business workshops are like, but will emphasize the importance of “finding where your passion lies and then using it to help others.”  

“I really want to show people how the magic works when we sing together as a choir, the power of what happens and what you can achieve,” he says. “I will turn the audience into a choir. Even in a short space of time you can get a shared experience, a sense of community and an emotional bond with the people around you. It builds self-confidence.”

“I saw that some team-building companies were using things like hand clapping and body percussion, but I didn’t see anyone using choral singing for bonding.”

Allan, who has held choir singing sessions for cancer patients, also believes the activity has health benefits. He plans to share a dramatic story of the difference it has made in his own health.

“It’s something that really takes you away from where you are,” he says. “Chorale singing can boost your immune system, it gets released into your body. The benefits of singing are no less potent for health than they are for team building.”

Allan has also found that engaging in humanitarian work is something that benefits the giver as well as those on the receiving end, something he plans to emphasize during his WEC presentation.

“I’ll talk about why it’s so important to help others and why you should engage your passion to do this,” he says. “When you donate your time, you learn things about yourself. It’s a really wonderful experience, even if the rewards are not on a business level. I’ve always heard very successful people say this, but I didn’t understand until now.” 

Allan hopes to get across the message that no one is too small to make a difference.

“If one guy in Poland with no money can do something, it shows you don’t have to be a Bill Gates,” he says.

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Maria Lenhart, Journalist

Maria Lenhart is an award-winning journalist specializing in travel and meetings industry topics. A former senior editor at Meetings Today, Meetings & Conventions and Meeting News, her work has also appeared in Skift, EventMB, The Meeting Professional, BTN, MeetingsNet, AAA Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Christian Science Monitor, Toronto Globe and Mail, Los Angeles Times and many other publications. Her books include Hidden Oregon, Hidden Pacific Northwestand the upcoming (with Linda Humphrey) Secret Cape Cod.