Next public performance: Bloomingdales at Stanford Shopping Center

October 22, 2008

Our group’s next public performance will take place on Saturday, December 13, at 2:00PM, at Bloomingdales in the Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA.

We will perform on the FIRST FLOOR of the store.

We hope you’ll join us for a memorable performance of our traditional repertoire, along with special holiday music!

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2009 TED Prize awarded to Jose Antonio Abreu

October 16, 2008

I’ve written elsewhere about my awe and amazement at the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.

Today the 2009 winners of the TED Prize were announced, including Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. The orchestra “system” was founded in Venezuela over 30 years ago, and now includes 102 youth orchestras, 55 children’s orchestras, and 270 music centers. The program involves close to 250,000 young musicians from the nation’s poorest regions.

A quote from Maestro Abreu:

“Music has to be recognized as an…agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.”

This from the TED Prize description:

There is a simple concept behind José’s work: for him an orchestra is first and foremost about togetherness, a place where children learn to listen to each other and to respect one another. José continues to believe in a better future for Venezuela, wanting to change people and structures through music.

For more about the TED Prize, visit this link.


Isn’t this supposed to get easier?

October 7, 2008

A friend of mine told me the story of her recent work with a personal trainer, and it reminded me of how we expect progress to feel.

She said that she began training with great enthusiasm, working out 2-3 times per week, lifting weights and doing various repetitions under the guidance of the trainer. After several weeks, she began to feel discouraged that she might not be making any progress.

Why was this? Well, she explained, things weren’t getting any easier!

It seemed like after the fourth week, she still felt just as tired at the end of the workout as she had during the first week, and she was still doing the same number of repetitions – not more. When she revealed this to another friend, who had been working with the same personal trainer for many years, that friend answered, “Well, have you noticed that you’re now lifting heavier weights??”

That’s progress. It’s not supposed to feel easier. It’s that you’re able to take on greater challenges (lift heavier weights), and still push yourself to your own limits (which continue to expand with training).

So make sure there’s always something you’re doing that doesn’t feel easier…It’s a sure sign that you’re making progress.


Practice, practice, practice…

October 6, 2008

The following post is from Brian Johnson’s thinkarete.com Big Idea #286:

“Ask the great athlete or the concert pianist or the successful actor if they arrived at the place where they need no further practice. They will tell you that the higher you climb in proficiency and public acceptance, the greater the need for practice.”

~ Eric Butterworth, 20th Century Spiritual Teacher from Spiritual Economics

Think about that for a moment longer.

The higher the greats climb, the GREATER the need for practice.

Wow.

How’s your practice going?!?

Let’s step it up.

(What’s one thing you know you should be doing as an integral part of your practice that you’re not currently doing…and that would have the greatest positive impact on your life? Get on it.)

More on Practice!

The great piano virtuoso Paderewski was once playing before an audience of the rich and the royal. After a brilliant performance, an elegant lady waxed ecstatic over the great artist. She said, “Ah Maestro, you are a genius!” Paderewski tartly replied, “Ah yes, madam, but before I was a genius I was a clod!” What he was saying was that his present acclaim was not handed to him on a silver platter. He, too, was once a little boy laboriously practicing his scales. And even at his peak, behind every brilliant performance there were countless hours of practice and preparation.