Benjamin Zander, the composer, musician and conductor…or Benjamin Zander, the teacher?

I really enjoy TED talks, they are truly fascinating.  And this talk, Benjamin Zander on music and passion you can find here, is no exception.  But this talk is far more than music and passion, it is filled with lessons that every teacher can apply to his or her classroom.  And yes, I have veered slightly off course of my normal, technically focused blog postings simply because I found this short 20 minute talk chock-ful of incredible wisdom…I’ve watched it now probably 5 times and have found new nuggets of wisdom with each viewing…(I’d be interested to know what other gems you picked up too so comment and let me know).

First, Mr. Zander manages to reach everyone in the room, some 1,600 people (plus the 1.6 million who have viewed the video), and teach them the ability to appreciate classical music…all in a mere 20 minutes…again, truly fascinating!

Second, how teachers can approach the task of teaching in general.  He shares a story about two shoe salesmen who travel to Africa in the 1900s, sent to research the opportunity for selling shoes there…and they each reported back shortly after their arrival.  One wrote, “Situation hopeless, they don’t wear shoes.”  While the other wrote, “Glorious opportunity, they don’t have any shoes yet!”  Two ways to approach every situation, each will no doubt provide vastly different outcomes.

But there’s more…

Here are a couple quotes to work with…

 

The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound…he depends for his power upon his ability to make other people powerful.

The conductor’s job is to awaken possibility in other people.

 

Instead of “conductor” think “teacher” and instead of “people” think “students”…

…it works, doesn’t it…

If you haven’t discovered TED yet, it’s time you’ve learned about it…virtually every recorded talk is as fascinating in its own right as this one by Benjamin Zander…they are all typically no more than about twenty minutes long…at the very least you will be challenged to view many things differently as a result of the TED Talks but more than likely, you will come away far more wise than you were in the ten to twenty minutes prior to your viewing.

Oh and since the “T” in TED stands for Technology, I guess I haven’t veered too far off my blog topic.