Infectious Passion & Shining Eyes: Benjamin Zander

Benjamin Zander has an irrational love for classical music. But instead of hanging his head at the fact that only 3% of the world share his love, he, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and a hopeful optimist, has set out on a mission to show people that they really do love classical music, they just haven’t realized it yet. You MUST watch his hilarious, moving, inspiring TED talk:

The Journey from B to E

The song Zander showcases in this talk, the Prelude in E by Chopin, is one that I learned to play as a piano student in high school, and has always been a favourite of mine. But his explanation made me appreciate it like never before. As he described the piece as “a journey from away to home” I realized that music can often express so much more emotion and nuance than mere words.

“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends for his power on his ability to make others powerful.” – Benjamin Zander

Near the end, Zander talks about his role as a conductor and shares a realization that I think is important for us in our various contexts as well. As parents, teachers, friends, mentors and colleagues, many of us can relate to Zander’s desire to “awaken possibility in others”. And the question he asks is an important one as we consider how we’re affecting the people around us: “Who am I being that their eyes are not shining?”

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