June 30, 2007

... from music capital of Memphis TN

Charlotte just renewed her Membership and shares this message:

I am soooo excited to be back on your site, I can’t tell u! … I spent several fun hours yesterday updating my account & answering mail...thnx again...have a great day! - Charlotte A Wilson

Join | Since 1996 | USA/Canada

June 29, 2007

Art of Interpretation

Interpretation: Science, Skill or Art?

Dictionaries define interpretation as a mental representation of the meaning or significance of something.

Much of what we create, read, hear and see is subject to interpretation. From producers to consumers, everyone is an interpreter. It’s a two way process that involves a little bit of science, skill and art.

  • Unlike computers, humans perform music differently every time. Variances in rhythm, timing and touch are nuances that give musical interpretation meaning.
  • Business executives reading the same set of data may reach different conclusions on the meaning of the numbers and consequently business direction.
  • People admiring the same contemporary painting interpret artistic ideas in variety of ways.
  • Accident eyewitnesses recall and interpret events from their vantage points.
  • Interpreting what people actually do vs. what people think/say they do is both skill and art.
Illusions & Mind Games

Illusions and mind games are interesting, too. Dictionaries define illusions as an erroneous mental representation or distortion of a sensory perception.

How do we interpret what we see? Take a look.

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    On Larry King Live: Ringo Starr & Practicing

    The other night Larry King interviewed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr from the Beatles Revolution Lounge at The Mirage in Las Vegas. I caught just a bit of that interview.

    Larry asked if Ringo regularly practices drums. Surprisingly (or not), Ringo happily admitted that he does not practice solo. He prefers to rehearse with a band. Making music with other musicians is what drives him.

    Ringo Starr, it seems, is 100% about music. He just happens to play drums.

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    June 20, 2007

    The Art of Possibility

    I have never met Ben Zander. However, we spoke on the phone once. Some years back Ben called me on a referral seeking a singer for a Russian piece on his concert. I suggested one of my students at the time, mezzo-soprano Marianna Kulikova, and apparently the concert was a success.
    What I remember most from those few minutes on the phone with Ben Zander is his enthusiasm and respect. He didn’t know anything about me, yet he treated me as if I were the most important person in the world. I am always happy to help but that desire was amplified by his approach.

    I just read
    The Art of Possibility, an inspiring book by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It is storytelling at its best. They make you believe that the world is full of infinite possibilities.

    Here is a clip of Ben Zander in action:

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    June 17, 2007

    Happy Father’s Day

    Wishing all fathers a happy Father’s Day from!

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    June 16, 2007

    Auditions, Snap Decisions and Simon Cowell

    Earlier, I posted a video of author Malcolm Gladwell describing the dynamics of snap decisions in a music audition setting.

    In his example, the trombone audition for the Munich Philharmonic was behind the screen, which made the conductor
    Sergiu Celibidache a profoundly better decision maker by taking away 80% of, visual, information.

    A vivid example of this practice is widely known to all followers of American Idol. The controversial
    Simon Cowell is a master of accurate snap judgments.

    Next time you watch Idol, note that many times Simon looks away from the contestant, as if not paying attention. Then, he states that if he were to listen to the contestant on the radio he would change the dial, or sometimes he praises the contestant.

    In fact, by treating an audition as if listening to a performance on the radio helps Simon Cowell make a better decision on a contestant’s vocal skills.

    Less is more.

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    A Million Dollar Idea

    Here’s something different. Last year an acquaintance created a new twist on a product within a saturated marketplace and distributed to some retail stores. A year later she reiterated that it’s a million dollar idea but needs a lot backing to succeed. When I asked how well the product sold during the year she replied “it doesn’t matter, people tell me it’s a million dollar idea.”

    So what is the definition of a million dollar idea? I don’t know, but here are some pointers. You decide.

    • Fantasy
    • Perception
    • Reality
    • Lottery ticket


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    June 09, 2007

    Auditions and Snap Judgments

    In this short video, the author of Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, tells a story of a trombonist who auditioned for Munich Philharmonic and the physiology of snap decisions.

    Gladwell’s premise is that certain snap decisions are more right than those based on more information. Taking away 80% of information can make people better decision makers, that frugality matters and that we can do more with less.

    Fascinating speaker!


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    June 08, 2007

    In Search of a Phrase

    Once in a while, I recall phrases from books that made an impression on me and try to go back and re-read them. But when it comes to a book with over 600 pages, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Google Book Search would be a very cool tool to use. But, Google didn’t have previews available for the book I am interested in, Miecio: Remembrances of Mieczyslaw Horszowski

    Somewhere in the book Horszowski once said to his wife, and I paraphrase, "I never quite feel ready." Coming from a musical giant, the statement brings the art of performing to a very human level.

    I often think about it. Even with the best possible preparation, any performance is an elusive moment in time when converging elements must work well together to achieve success. The anticipation of the unknown can be unsettling but that keeps performers excited and focused, and pushes them to greatness.

    I could be right about the phrase, I could be wrong. Either way, I look forward to re-reading the book.

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    June 07, 2007

    Teaching is Learning, Growing as Artists

    Teaching is a noble profession. Beyond making a living, teaching music brings joy to the world of students young and old.

    Teaching is also a necessary lifelong learning experience for any performing musician seeking to grow artistically.

    While teaching process requires a lot of repetition and patience, it encourages music artists to articulate musical ideas verbally, inspire creativity, help students refine taste, style and solve challenging technical problems. It’s a two-way learning street.

    Be selfish. Help your students – grow as an artist.

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    June 03, 2007

    What if …

    Two intriguing thoughts came to mind today.
    • What would Beethoven’s music be like if he were to compose for a modern Steinway?
    • What would Mozart be able to accomplish if he had today’s composition software tools?
    Unleash your imaginations.

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