I love Ted Talks. I mean I love them. Even if I don’t agree with the opinions expressed in a Ted Talk, I’ll probably watch it anyway, just to squeeze the thought-juice from my mind-grapes. (That’s a 30 Rock reference, in case you’re wondering.)
The first Ted Talk I ever watched was probably the best I’ve seen—a moving discussion about music and its power to move the human spirit by Benjamin Zander. There are so many things in this talk that I want to memorize and dispense to my own students; it gets beyond the nuts and bolts of music to the reason anyone cares or pursues music in the first place—because at some point they had an experience that moved them and they want to know how to come to that place again.
[I was inspired to revisit this talk because of a post by John Gardner on Theology Through the Arts at his blog Honey and Locusts. There he posted a video of Jeremy Begbie, professor of systematic theology at the Duke Divinity School, who’s also a trained musician. I really enjoyed the video, which touched on some interesting music theory/theology analogies (although I thought Begbie was a little fuzzy on some of the theory).]
So here’s the vid:
It is unfortunate that Zander has recently been entangled in an imbroglio at New England Conservatory, where he taught for forty-five years. He hired a videographer who had a history of sex offense. There are many details to the issues which you can read here, but despite a lapse in judgement, it is a shame that students at NEC will be without such a fine teacher. I think Zander is in many ways this generation’s Leonard Bernstein, for his interest in and ability to talk to the layperson about music.