Before you read further take the 20 minutes and watch this video.
Benjamin Zander is a conductor and described as a leading interpreter of Mahler and Beethoven, known for his charisma and unyielding energy -- and for his brilliant pre-concert talks.
He gives this talk at the T.E.D. conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) “is an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration”. He asks the question is classical music dead and through an anecdote he reveals that is depends on your interpretation. He then begins an experiment, sort of an experiment.
I will let the video give the rest of the description.
This video is not really music and the brain stuff in the strictest sense. However, since we have been talking about health I thought it was appropriate. The reasons I find this so enjoyable is that Zander talks first about how a young musicians go from a rudimentary interpretation of a piece (his example being the Chopin Prelude) to a more sophisticated sound. “One buttock playing” is essentially a rhythmic concept. I wonder what Takako at Baycrest would say about the beta waves going on here. This concept is the difference between focusing on every note and focusing on a phrase, recognizing the line, and the direction of a melody. His involvement of the audience helps them recognize the musical journey that is inherently in them.
At one point he says that nobody is tone deaf, and that is almost true if you discount injury or amusia. This is open to much discussion and I won’t get into that in this blog entry.
The focus of this video is not just that everyone can love and enjoy classical music but rather how Zander relates classical music to experiences of emotional healing. He does this by not only showing the audience how to move through the music but then he tells them about experiences with kids in Ireland and finally relates it to an Auschwitz survivor. Essentially, music as emotional healing.
So what is the main point of this very entertaining video? I think Zander is saying that enjoying classical music is not about understanding the little tiny nuances like what Mozart shoe size is, but rather that following a melody is about a voyage that can bring healing, emotion and connect people.
I don’t want to get all “touchy feely”, I just like to see good communicators reveal their knowledge and be proud that a musician is doing it.