I forgot to ask. Do you know what the acronym TED stands for? Technology, Education and Design. It is a playdate from heaven for anyone interested in any one of those subjects. For people who are interested in all three, like me, it is a party-in-a-chair I like to call Nerdvana.
As I prepared for TEDxNashville, I didn’t think their Talk would end up being one of my favorites. I adore classical music, but I wasn’t sure how New Paradigm, New Imperatives: Classical Music in the 21st Century was going to be received. Ding, dong, duh. It’s Nashville! The crowd was three quarters full of aspiring musicians, half of whom are working in other fields while they pursue their dreams.
What surprised me the most was that within their allotted 20 minutes, Alexander and Buono went beyond their area of expertise and offered advice that each person in the audience had a visceral response to. Everyone was so absorbed in what they were saying, you could’ve heard a pin drop.
There are a couple of great performances in their talk and lots of fascinating information about the changing school of thought in the classical world. I will admit to one distraction during their 20. I found myself mentally adding Barry Alexander to the list of people who can read to me out of the phone book. James Earl Jones and George Clooney, you’ve got a new competitor!
If you don’t have time to watch the video–you really should take the time–I’ve jotted down the most important takeaways from their talk below. But really. You should watch it. It is inspiring for creatives from all walks of life. They even talk about old school class warfare, pandering and intellectual property disputes!
In my notes on the New Paradigm from that day, I wrote down their words of advice that apply to all of us:
“I am as good as my talent and my willingness to work allow me to become.”
“Follow your individuality. Celebrate it. Cherish it. Because only then are you fulfilling your mission as an artist.”
“Treat your talent like you would any other business. Your repertoire is your inventory. The people in audience are your clients.”
“Be in control of your career at all times. Don’t make decisions that you don’t feel are appropriate for where you want to be as an artist. Don’t listen to people whom you feel are steering you in the wrong direction. The chances are, if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right.”
“Your talent is a gift, and so you have an obligation, as a musician (human), to bridge the gap between your humanity and your divinity. You have to leave an audience, going away from an auditorium, feeling exactly the same way as they do when they leave a place of worship. If you haven’t done that, you haven’t done your job, because that is not only a responsibility and an imperative, it’s an obligation.”
And finally, their advice on how to make magic happen:
“The humanity is yours; the divinity awaits. It is your responsibility to bridge the gap between the two.”
Cue the standing O.