Educator | Performer | Composer | Author

Food for Thought

A Compilation of Thought-Provoking Articles and Videos
from Far and Wide on All Kinds of Things

“Do Schools Kills Creativity?” – “Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.”


Why Salsa Dancing is Good for Us [i.e. classical musicians] – from Greg Sandow’s blog

TED – Ideas worth spreading – “Riveting talks by remarkable people” [on streaming video]

50 Life Secrets and Tips – article on the site High Existence (#1 Memorize something every day. …)

90% of All Self-Help Books Say the Same Thing – A dozen pithy dictums of sage advice on the examined life…

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (15:05)

Steve Jobs explains the Rules for Success (1:29)

Richard St. John’s 8 Secrets of Success (3 minute video)

JK Rowling on The Fringe Benefits of Failure (commencement address at Harvard University)

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation

Conductor Benjamin Zander is “arguably the most accessible communicator about classical music since Leonard Bernstein. Zander moves audiences with his unbridled passion and enthusiasm.” – London Sunday Times

Stuart Brown on the importance of play. “Nothing lights up the brain like play.” “The opposite of play is not work, but depression.” “We are designed to play through our whole lifetime.”

“In this soaring demonstration, deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums.”

“Percussionists Go from Background to Podium” – NY Times article on percussion in classical music. Are drums the new violins?

10 Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture – Computer science professor Pausch knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer. His last lecture (Sept. 17, 2007; 76 min.) before an audience of 400 at Carnegie-Mellon Institute entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” was not about dying. It was about “the importance of overcoming obstacles, enabling the dreams of others, seizing every moment” of the day – it was about how to live your life. The lecture was an instant international sensation. Many millions have viewed the lecture online. This link is to a web site that leads to others about Randy Pausch, including a video of the lecture itself, an iTunes download, DVD, free transcript, and more. See also his home page, Not to be missed!

Pixar’s Randy Nelson on collaborative learning and achieving success:

Click here to access the text of a brilliant address given by pianist Karl Paulnack at the Boston Conservatory on the place and value of music in society today.

The Truth About Grit – the real key to success and high achievement

Role of the Arts in Advancing Human Rights – Video – Part of a speech (go to minute 56:50) by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

American Rhetoric is a site that houses great speeches – a “Speech Bank”, as it were. You have easy access to “Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century” [#1 MLK: “I Have a Dream”, many with both text, audio, and photos] as well as many other kinds of speeches, even movie speeches [hear Sir Thomas More address the court in “Man for All Seasons” or Brando’s “Stella” monologue or the Cowardly Lion talk about courage. Try browsing here instead of watching Seinfeld reruns some time…

Missed Opportunity – Greg Sandow’s reflections on how schools of music ignore/neglect the opportunity to publicize the free concerts available to all at the music school.

Future of Music – by Dave Kusek, Vice president at Berklee College of Music. Not on the horn, but thought-provoking.

A Young, Hip Classical Crowd. The forward-thinking thoughts of Greg Sandow (in the WSJ, no less) reports on the hip classical music shows going on at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.

Classical Music – On Demand – Artsjournal’s Henry Fogel thoughts on current and future technology and classical recordings.

Berlin Moves – Greg Sandow’s reactions to the players of the Berlin Philharmonic as they move their bodies freely during performances, almost dancing the music as they play it.

Flow – psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives a talk on “Flow”, the state of happiness people feel when they are completely absorbed in the task at hand, doing it for its own sake without ego involvement or awareness of time passing. Flow is also the title of his seminal book on the subject.

This video is a song version (uncredited) of Mary Schmich’s fantasy commencement address (published as an essay in the Chicago Tribune in 1997), often falsely attributed to Kurt Vonnegut. There are several video realizations of this audio track available at YouTube – do a search there for “Wear Sunscreen” to see the others.

Abraham Maslow’s 8 Ways to Self-Actualize
1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you
2. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.
3. Let the self emerge. Try to shut out the external clues as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel.
4. When in doubt, be honest. If you look into yourself and are honest, you will also take responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing.
5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.
6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be.
7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.
8. Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don’t like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses – and then finding the courage to give them up.

“Musicians add second careers to their repertoires,” article in the L.A. Times.

“Making Art in the Now World” – article in the L. A. Times

“What Historical Recordings can tell us about “Authentic Performance” – article by Henry Fogel in ArtsJournal

Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius

Enjoy the Ride

Musical Expression for Everyone – TED presentation by Tod Machover of MIT’s Media Lab: ways to get everyone involved in making music.

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