Saturday, January 22, 2011

Empowering Possibility through Media, Classically

The TED Talk assignment led me to seek serious play. Dr. Stuart Brown shared his work at TED, although the talk delivery does not inspire the topic. I did find someone with comments within Dr. Brown's talk whom I will now follow on this TEDster's blog.

Ultimately, my TED choice was influenced by a book the speaker wrote primarily with his wife, called The Art of Possibility, published in 2000 by Penguin Books.

Quote from the book spoken by Ben: "Waiter, I have a perfect life, but I don't have a knife."

In the TED talk below, Benjamin Zander, embodies passion for his topic. He exudes leadership and moral authority exhorting listeners to attend and relate to his interpretation of a classical piece of music. His manner is funny and he playfully engages attendees wherever they are in relation to classical music. The media demonstration of sound creates emotion while Zander translates meaning of the activity for our brains.

Instrumental music including classical is often universally and temporally embraced across cultures. In Orlando, I am now seeing local movie theaters advertise for the Metropolitan Opera and concert performances that are shown in high definition with surround sound. Technologically, I wonder how emotional reactions will compare when someone nearby munches popcorn. Personally, I prefer the idea of getting dressed up to experience the concert hall, but the price of admission limits access. The masses have the potential to experience such media that can be played on iPods and phones besides computers and tablets. Virtual worlds have shown potential to engage users emotionally through 3D immersion.

Zander mentions his role in this TED talk as a conductor to awaken the possibilities in others. In this case, the others are his orchestra. The pressure for perfection among professional musicians must be daunting. Robots will be able to imitate orchestral achievement someday like Data on Star Trek, but I wonder whether they will play to "play," improvise, and most of all awaken possibility in others.

When I complete my CTU doctorate degree, my next educational endeavor will be a certificate in Appreciative Inquiry. There are of course a few unfinished tasks in my current pursuit such as completing a compelling dissertation and coursework, challenging inquiry, making life-long friends, and transforming my life etc. I do indeed have a perfect life!

The photo above was taken in 1998 in Paris at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. It is Chopin's grave and I was struck by how he died at age 39. Likewise Mozart died at age 36. I do love classical music and wish I could play any instrument, but most of all I have a passion for learning and being a part of a community of scholars.

TED Talk Honorable mentions:
#1 Sir Ken Robinson - Changing Education Paradigms (beautifully illustrated ~12 mins)l

#2 Jill Bolte Taylor - Stroke of Insight (first person account of stroke as a brain scientist ~ 18 mins)

#3 Carolyn Polco - Saturn Expedition (planetary scientist showing awe for the meaning of the landing ~17 mins)

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