TAG: passion

The TED Commandments: 10 Rules for a Great Speech

What makes for a great speech?

These days, one need only log onto Ted.com to see examples of the leading lights in our culture speaking with passion on everything from art to business to science to you name it!   In fact, in my class, I assigned my students to watch Ben Zander’s TED Talk on Music and Passion to show them the excitement that music can generate to tap into new possibilities, new experiences and new connections.

TED talks are wildly popular.  According to TED’s own records, TEDTalks have been viewed more than 500 million times by people around the world (as of July 2011).

Is it merely an accident that these speeches are so good?  Or is there some method to guide these talented people?

It turns out that TED’s organizer’s indeed issue guidelines, called the TED Commandments, which are apparently engraved on a stone tablet and sent to their invited speakers!  I am indebted to Tim Longhurst for transcribing the engraved  commandments from a photograph and typing then up.  Here they are:

Speaking About Music: How to Be Confident and Powerful

If you happened to wander by my classroom at Yale recently, you would have seen and heard my students and their professor (that would be me!) moving their arms, doing knee bends, rolling their lip, singing scales to the tune of “mi mi mi” and reciting tongue twisters under the tutelage of Professor Brian Lewis who came to my class to help us learn more about public speaking and overcome “glossophobia”(the fear of public speaking).

In fact, in some surveys, fear of public speaking is the number one common phobia, ranking even higher than the fear of death!  So Professor Lewis was there to give us some valuable tips on how to get comfortable with public speaking since he adn I both believe that this is an essential skill for today’s musicians.  Here is a summary of his remarks, together with my own observations on how to speak in public with power and confidence. 

Networking for Music Entrepreneurs: Using Your Head and Your Heart

I love teaching networking because it is such a valuable skill for musicians.  And my recent networking class at Yale was such a treat because for the first time ever, I had a group where nearly half of the students enjoy networking! As a result, my “experienced” networkers were able to share their successes with their colleagues which both reinforced the importance of networking and showed other students what to do in order to incorporate networking into one’s arsenal of career-building tools. 

The bottom line:  networking involves both your head—being strategic—and your heart-being intuitive and sensitive to building quality relationships. 

Let’s take a closer look at what worked.

Finding Passion in Your Life’s Work: Do What You Love

One of the reasons that I love working with musicians is that they chose to do what they do because of a deep sense of commitment and passion to the field.  Otherwise, why would they spend some much time practicing and honing their craft in a competitive and challenging field?

It is one thing to be in love with your art.  Yet many musicians have trouble taking the next step to figuring out how to  translate that passion into a  successful and sustainable career.

Where do you start?

Thoughts on Ben Zander’s TED Talk on Music and Passion (Leadership and Possibility)

I am in the process of finalizing the reading list for my course next semester at the Yale School of Music on “Creating Sustainable Careers in the Arts” and am including Ben Zander’s TED Talk on Music and Passion. TED Talks originated from a conference with the world’s thought leaders in Technology, Entertainment and Design around the theme of “ideas worth spreading”.  The talks have broadened in scope to include inspirations voices that anyone can access for free online on the ted.com website. I have chosen this particular talk because not only it is an inspiration for today’s conservatory students to hear one of the world’s great proponents of classical music but also because it contains some powerful leadership lessons that transcend music and apply to all areas of life.