Monday, December 20, 2010

December: TEDxNewYork salons

I have been attending the Friday TEDxNewYork salons for about a year now. TEDxNewYork is a one-hour long salon in which a group of people watch a TED video, and discuss it afterward. While they're only 1 hour long, and not enough time to really dig into any subject and reflect on it, the salons are a wonderful time to step away from other daily tasks to bask in imagination, and share and discover ideas with a very diverse group of inspiring people.

My friend Chel, who facilitates the salons, was leaving town to join the INK Conference in India as the social media point person, and she asked me to facilitate TEDxNY for three weeks while she was away. I was thrilled for the opportunity, as I love facilitating groups of people with great ideas.

It was my decision as to which videos we'd watch, and this proved to be much more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. Should I think of creating a scope over three weeks, with each talk relating to the next? Should I show videos about issues that are of interest to me, but perhaps not as intriguing to a more diverse audience?

In the end, I chose three talks that had little to do with one another, but that would hopefully provide a good basis for a conversation.

Here are short blogs about each salon:
December 3
December 10
December 17

December 17, 2010: TEDxNewYork salon

I need to look up the talk I showed on this day, because I'm drawing a blank. But the most interesting part of the discussion was not about the talk itself. Deciding to shift the conversation to focus on "dreaming big," I said, "As you know, TED gives away a prize to an extraordinary person who has a dream to change the world. This prize helps that person achieve his or her wish. In the spirit of the holiday season and wishes for the upcoming year, what would you do to help change the world if you were to be awarded a TED prize?"

It was beautiful. We didn't have much time, but here are a few ways that TEDxNY members would help change the world if granted a wish:

Conserve wildlife on the planet
Connect every child in the world to a caring adult
Connecting to our roots and nature (Something about the book "Ishmael")
Develop lifestyle innovation
Share the idea of cosmic consciousness
Start a campaign against rape in Africa
Develop a well-being institute
Inner life
Help bring more money into mass transportation system and arts education
Contribute to child health

December 10, 2010: TEDxNewYork Salon

The second (and by far most popular) talk we watched was Itay Talgam's Lead Like the Great Conductors. Just watch it. This one hit home for me, as I have spent most of my life playing under and watching various conductors, and it made so much sense to think about how we can learn leadership skills from great (or not so great) conductors.
My favorite comment of the day from a regular TEDxNY attendee: "I spent all week at other TEDx events, and I really thought I'd had enough, that I couldn't possibly come today. But this talk has made my entire afternoon, my entire WEEK! There's nothing better than hearing great music in the middle of a Friday afternoon."

I couldn't agree more.

December 3, 2010: TEDxNewYork salon

I had been thinking a lot about entrepreneurship, and the first talk I showed was Cameron Herold's Let's Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs. Interestingly, many of the people who attended that day were entrepreneurs, and there were some differing opinions among the group about whether people agreed with Cameron Herold or not. What I took away from the discussion was this: it may not make sense to raise all children to become entrepreneurs, but rather, to raise children to develop entrepreneurial skills which they can bring to any profession they end up pursuing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Found Sound Nation party a success!

I'm extremely proud of the Found Sound Nation crew for putting together a fantastic party at Tammany Hall last night. We had a wonderful opportunity to share some of the projects of Found Sound Nation with friends, colleagues, and supporters. Thanks to all who came out on a cold Monday night!

The folks at Tammany Hall were fantastic, and we look forward to collaborating with them again. Chris and Jeremy showed video footage from their projects in Africa and New Orleans, and talked about future plans for a project in Haiti. Everyone especially loved when former FSN participants got up on stage and free-styled along to tracks they'd created during their FSN workshops.

Found Sound Nation, sponsored by Bang on a Can, is a mobile production crew that guides people to explore their voice and vision through creating multi-media music projects. I have been managing many of the projects with our stellar team: Chris Marianetti and Jeremy Thal (workshop leaders), and Elena Moon Park (project manager and development specialist). We're all revved by how these workshops allow young people to explore their potential in life by participating in a musical experience in which they create their own song tracks by using the sounds around them, and we want to get as many people involved in supporting this innovative, culturally-relevant, and socially-conscious work as possible!

I'll be writing more about FSN soon. We have big plans for 2011, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December: Fred Hersch at the Vanguard

Among the many things I love listening to, a show at the Village Vanguard ranks high up on the list. Especially when Fred Hersch is playing. Tonight I had the good fortune to be invited into Fred's gorgeous sound. Now, as a brass player, I understand the concept of beautiful tone production. But-- despite growing up around a pianist grandfather who owned one of the top Steinway piano stores in the U.S-- I've never understood how beautiful tone production is achieved on a piano. This is probably for the best, because I revel in the naive amazement of being soothed by every note that comes out of the instrument when Fred plays.

Last time I came to the Vanguard was to enjoy the Brian Blade Fellowship, which was one of the pivotal concerts of the year for me. What I love most about the Vanguard is its intimacy: it feels as if you're in someone's living room, the walls peppered with several photos of jazz legends, and the welcoming sounds of the piano, with the perfect acoustical balance of warmth and clarity.

If you missed Fred's show, or if you want to relive the experience, check out a show from an earlier performance here.