MONDAY BYTES — June 29, 2015
What can TED talks teach musicians about performance?Of course there are terrific specific TED talks that can inspire us and give us concrete tools and strategies. (As I’ve written in other posts about, for instance Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk on body language pictured above).But if we think about TED Talks as performances, what lessons can we glean?
TED Talks themselves are performances that have been worked on carefully and coached so that we get the version with the most impact, with the speaker at her or his best.
But what makes these compelling talks is NOT that they are memorized and coached to be “perfect”—with every word carefully pronounced, with facts and ideas organized correctly and the hand gestures and body language carefully choreographed and all of it perfectly executed.
If that’s NOT what makes for a great TED Talk, what does?
At their best, TED talks are essentially a form of focused story telling, with the illustrating of a powerful idea that the speaker offers us to use in our own lives.
The best TED speakers show vulnerability, speaking their truth by focusing on a personal challenge and how they experienced this as a transformational life lesson. In the process, the best TED speakers reveal their authentic selves and their motivation: why they do what they do.
Music performances have the potential to do communicate all of that and more. But most performances are weighed down by performers’ tunnel visioned pursuit of technical perfection.
If you want to soar, you need to be aiming at the heavens.
TED speakers are sent the TED Commandments — guidelines to help them prepare. And a number of these are helpful tips for musical performances as well, such as the reminder to “be vulnerable,” to “dream a great dream,” to “Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion,” and to “tell a story” through your performance.
Try these: Thoughts for the practice room and rehearsal studio. what is it you want your next performance to offer your audience? Describe the ideal mindset you would have during this peak performance in order to convey your intended message.
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Dream big, Plan smart, Live well!