MONDAY BYTES — January 26, 2015
Yes, I’m a Barbara Cook groupie. In her master classes and interviews she focuses on the business of being who you are, on letting the audience in. On being authentic.
It takes courage to be ourselves, as performers, as teachers, as people — and we’re often so busy chasing perfection, or trying to keep our persona in place, that we lose being real.
A few weeks ago I came across this inspiring account of one of Ms. Cook’s Kennedy Center master classes. Lots of tips here not only on how to perform and how to teach, but how to be a better person. This included the paradox that performing (and living) demands of us . . .
“To be as authentic as we know how to be at the moment, so that we can be more and more present in what we do. . .The more we can do that, the safer we are. The problem is it feels most dangerous, because what I ask people to do is in effect undress emotionally, so that’s very frightening and new. But this very thing that seems most dangerous is where safety lies.”
And over the holidays I found a video of one of her performances of a song I’d never heard before—a song whose message itself echoes her teaching philosophy.
The video makes real everything in the account of her teaching, in what she encourages in students. And the performance is so moving, so clear in its arc and message, that I’d put it in the rarefied category of “perfect” and in every sense authentic. This is Amanda McBroom’s Ship in a Bottle (4:45).
2 Questions this week:
What’s your latest “find” — an inspiring video of a performance or master class? I’d love to see and hear it!
For this new year, where are you turning to find insight and creativity?
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