A great activity for everyone

Make a Team Playlist

Kickstart Team Bonding with Make a Team Playlist: The Ultimate Collaborative Activity

Make a Team Playlist
By Jon Zajac

What is Make a Team Playlist?

The Make a Team Playlist icebreaker is an engaging and enjoyable activity designed to foster team-building and camaraderie within any group. It achieves this by tapping into the power of shared music tastes, sparking conversations around personal interests, memories, and stories tied to music. Through the medium of a collaborative playlist, participants express their individuality while contributing to a shared asset that can enhance future gatherings or work environments. The icebreaker entails each participant selecting one or two songs with personal significance, sharing the reasons behind their choices, and adding these songs to the group’s playlist. By reflecting on emotions, memories, and discoveries evoked during the activity, the group strengthens its bonds through the universal language of music. The Make a Team Playlist icebreaker is about more than just creating a collection of songs; it’s about the shared journey and connections forged throughout the process.

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Rules for Make a Team Playlist

  1. Select one or two songs that have personal significance, represent something about your personality, or evoke a happy memory.
  2. Ensure all participants have access to the chosen music streaming platform and can contribute to the shared playlist.
  3. During each participant’s turn, share the selected song(s) along with the reason for their choices.
  4. Listen actively and respectfully during others’ sharing sessions.
  5. Add the chosen songs to the group playlist in real-time during the activity.
  6. Refrain from judgment or criticism of others’ music choices; everyone’s taste in music is unique and personal.
  7. Participate enthusiastically and engage with the group throughout the activity.
  8. After the activity, make sure all participants have access to the completed playlist.
  9. Encourage respectful feedback and conversation about the experience of sharing music preferences as a group.
  10. Optional: Update the playlist with new finds or thematic changes in future sessions, fostering continued engagement and evolution of the group’s musical landscape.

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Materials needed for Make a Team Playlist

  • Digital device with internet connectivity: Each participant will need a device to access the chosen music streaming platform, select their songs, and share them with the group.
  • Access to a music streaming platform that allows playlist creation and collaboration: The group should decide on one platform that is accessible to everyone for creating and contributing to the shared playlist. Examples include Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
  • A method for participants to project their chosen songs onto a big screen or speakers (optional but recommended): This will allow for group listening during the sharing session, enhancing the experience by adding a sensory component to the activity.

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Setting up for Make a Team Playlist

To set up for the Make a Team Playlist icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a music streaming platform that is accessible to everyone in the group and ensure all members have or can create an account.
  2. Prior to the meeting, create a blank playlist on the chosen platform named “[Group’s Name]’s Team Playlist”. Share the link or invite members to contribute, ensuring you have set the permissions correctly so all can add their songs.
  3. If planning for group listening, arrange a speaker or AV system ready for connecting devices and ensure it is properly connected to your digital device.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the platform’s features and learn how to add songs during the session if you haven’t already.
  5. Prepare any necessary materials for projecting chosen songs onto a big screen or speakers, such as HDMI cables or Chromecast devices.
  6. Schedule an appropriate time and location for the activity that suits all participants, either in-person or virtually through a video conferencing tool.
  7. Send out a calendar invite, including the link to the playlist and any necessary setup instructions, so participants can join prepared.
  8. Prepare an introduction for the session, highlighting the objectives, steps, and emphasizing that there are no right or wrong song choices.
  9. Set up a system for collecting feedback from participants after the activity, such as an online form or group discussion.

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How to play Make a Team Playlist

1. Select the Music Platform Choose a music platform that is accessible to everyone in the group and ensure everyone has or can create an account.

2. Create the Playlist Before the meeting, create a blank playlist named “Team’s Name” Playlist”. Share the link or invite members to contribute, ensuring you have set the permissions correctly so all can add their songs.

3. Set up the Tech If planning for group listening, ensure you have a speaker or AV system ready for connecting devices.

4. Introduction Start the session by explaining the objective and steps of the Make a Team Playlist icebreaker activity. Emphasize that there are no right or wrong selections as song choices are a means of self-expression.

5. Music Selection Task each participant with selecting one or two songs that have personal significance, represent something about their personality, or evoke a happy memory. Allocate enough time for this step but consider imposing a limit to keep the momentum going.

6. Sharing Session Have each participant share their selected song(s) and the reason behind their choices. This can be as brief or detailed as they are comfortable with. Play a snippet of the song during their turn for added sensory engagement.

7. Playlist Compilation Add each member’s song(s) to the group playlist live, either by the activity coordinator or participants adding their own selections directly if possible.

8. Reflection After everyone has shared, reflect as a group on emotions and memories evoked, surprising discoveries about each other, or discuss genre diversity within the team.

9. Sharing the Playlist Make sure everyone has access to the completed playlist. Encourage the group to listen to it outside the activity, reinforcing the day’s bonding experience.

10. Feedback & Conversation Leave a space for participants to express what they thought of the activity, acknowledging that sharing music choices can be personal and commending their openness.

11. Suggested Extension Utilize the playlist during future meetings or gatherings as a reminder of the team building session or propose updating it with new finds or thematic changes in future sessions.

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Benefits of Make a Team Playlist

  • Fosters Team Building: By sharing personal music choices and the stories behind them, participants gain insights into each other’s lives, fostering a stronger sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding.
  • Encourages Active Listening: Engaging in group listening activities enhances focus and attentiveness, promoting effective communication within the team.
  • Breaks Down Barriers: Music transcends boundaries, making it an excellent medium for diverse groups to connect on a deeper level, regardless of cultural or linguistic differences.
  • Promotes Self-Expression: Choosing songs that reflect one’s personality allows individuals to showcase their unique identities, building confidence and self-awareness.
  • Facilitates Storytelling: The narrative aspect of this activity encourages storytelling and strengthens interpersonal bonds, as team members learn about shared experiences or interests.
  • Catalyzes Conversations: Music is a versatile conversation starter that can lead to discussions on various topics, enhancing group cohesion and social interaction skills.
  • Creates a Shared Asset: The collaborative playlist serves as a tangible output of the activity, providing future opportunities for the team to enjoy their collective music taste together during work sessions or leisure times.
  • Fuels Emotional Intelligence: Exploring how different genres and songs evoke emotions in individuals can enhance emotional awareness and empathy within the group, leading to more effective collaboration and conflict resolution.

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Skills built with Make a Team Playlist

  • Active Listening: By focusing on each participant’s song choice and the story behind it, individuals hone their active listening skills, which are crucial for effective communication and empathy within a team.
  • Self-Expression: Choosing a song that represents oneself encourages participants to express their personality, interests, and emotions, promoting self-awareness and authenticity in group settings.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Engaging with different music genres and origins can enhance cultural understanding and appreciation, reducing stereotypes and fostering an inclusive environment.
  • Collaborative Decision Making: Adding songs to a shared playlist requires team members to negotiate and balance their preferences, building consensus and improving group decision-making abilities.
  • Interpersonal Connection: Discussing personal memories and stories related to music can spark conversations, create common ground, and strengthen interpersonal bonds among participants.
  • Conflict Resolution: Handling potential disagreements or duplicate song selections in a respectful manner allows team members to practice conflict resolution skills and maintain positive relationships.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Understanding how music influences emotions can help individuals recognize and manage their own feelings, as well as empathize with others’ emotional responses.
  • Creativity: Encouraging participants to think beyond the surface level of a song by sharing its personal significance boosts creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.

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Why I like Make a Team Playlist

I appreciate the Make a Team Playlist icebreaker activity because it offers a unique and engaging way to build camaraderie within teams or groups through the powerful medium of music. As a facilitator, I find this activity effective in encouraging personal expression and fostering meaningful conversations among participants.

What sets this icebreaker apart is its ability to blend individuality and collaboration. By allowing each participant to contribute songs that resonate with them personally, the activity taps into their unique experiences and preferences while simultaneously creating a shared playlist that reflects the group’s collective identity.

Moreover, the Make a Team Playlist icebreaker caters to various learning styles—auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Sharing stories behind chosen songs adds a narrative component, displaying the playlist on a big screen engages visual learners, and physically adding songs to the collaborative playlist during the activity accommodates those who prefer hands-on experiences.

The adaptability of this icebreaker is another reason I enjoy it. It can be tailored to fit different settings, time constraints, or group sizes, making it an ideal choice for diverse environments such as classrooms, meetings, or team building sessions.

Lastly, the Make a Team Playlist icebreaker provides opportunities for continued engagement beyond the initial session. A shared playlist serves as a lasting memento of the bonding experience and can be revisited during future gatherings to reinforce group unity and promote ongoing interaction among members.

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Tips for making Make a Team Playlist more inclusive

  • Consider Cultural Sensitivity: I make sure to be aware of cultural differences in music preferences and encourage participants to share about their song choices without judgment. This helps create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
  • Use Clear and Simple Language: I always use language that is easy to understand for all participants, regardless of their background or familiarity with the activity. This ensures that everyone can fully engage in the experience.
  • Invite Participants to Share in Their Preferred Language: If the group consists of non-native English speakers or multilingual individuals, I encourage them to share in the language they are most comfortable with. This allows for more authentic self-expression and promotes inclusivity.
  • Accommodate Different Abilities: For participants with hearing impairments, I make sure to describe the song’s genre, rhythm, or mood, allowing them to engage with the activity through alternative means. For visually impaired participants, I ensure that the digital platform used is accessible and allows for screen reader compatibility.
  • Provide Alternatives to Verbal Sharing: Some individuals may feel more comfortable expressing themselves through writing or drawing. Offering these alternatives can help include those who might otherwise feel left out in a verbal sharing session.
  • Avoid Assumptions About Musical Knowledge: I avoid making assumptions about participants’ familiarity with certain genres, artists, or songs. By doing so, I create an environment where everyone feels welcome to share their unique musical preferences and experiences.
  • Emphasize the Value of All Song Choices: I highlight how each song choice contributes to the group’s understanding of individual participants, ensuring that every selection is appreciated and recognized as valuable. This fosters a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the team.

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Reflection questions for Make a Team Playlist

  1. What did you learn about your teammates that surprised you? Understanding how music can reveal unexpected aspects of people’s personalities and experiences.
  2. How do you feel the playlist represents your group as a whole? Exploring the diversity or commonalities in music preferences and what they might mean for team dynamics.
  3. Did sharing your song choices make you more comfortable with self-expression within the group? Why or why not? Reflecting on personal growth and increased openness through the activity.
  4. How can this shared playlist be utilized in future meetings, study sessions, or work environments to enhance the team experience? Encouraging participants to think of practical applications for their collaborative effort.
  5. Did any particular song or story resonate with you and why? Identifying personal connections made during the activity and understanding their impact on individual experiences.
  6. How might this icebreaker activity influence your team’s communication, empathy, and cooperation in other contexts? Extrapolating lessons learned from sharing music to broader group interactions and relationships.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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