Movie screening: Wayne Dyer’s “Ambition to Meaning”

February 23, 2009

It’s time to go deep. What are the lessons of living that are most essential to pass on? How are we serving as living examples of the values we most want our children to remember about us?

Join us for a free screening of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s new movie, Ambition to Meaning: Finding Your Life’s Purpose (click on link to view the trailer).

Date: Monday, March 2, 2009

Time: 6:00PM Doors Open, Social Time, Light Refreshments
7:00PM Movie Screening Begins (duration: approx. 2 hours)
9:00PM DVD sales, Optional discussion time

Location: The Music Within Us, 2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite 150, Mountain View, CA 94043

Phone: (650) 325-2194

This event is offered for free and is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

The film is an illuminating, thought-provoking exploration of the spiritual journey of life, featuring Dr. Wayne Dyer as himself, and several character-driven stories to illustrate his messages, set in beautiful Monterrey, California.

If you are curious about the spiritual path, or the search for greater meaning in our everyday lives, or even if you are a skeptic, this will be a stimulating evening for you!

Read on for a blurb from your host for the evening, Lisa Chu.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Wish for Music Training

February 18, 2009

Maestro Jose Antonio-Abreu, recipient of the 2009 TED Prize, gave his acceptance speech in February. He describes with great eloquence the impact of El Sistema, the nationwide youth music training program he founded over 35 years ago in Venezuela, on the hearts and souls of its people, and the society as a whole. He describes the effect of this system as being felt in three circles – the individual, the family, and the community. In other words, by planting the seeds of music-making in the hearts and minds of children, we affect wider circles than just those children. We affect the families, we affect the communities in which those families live, and we eventually affect the world. I am in awe of the beauty of how Maestro Abreu’s dream, which started with just eleven students in 1975, has come to truly be the change he wished to see in the world.

In its essence, the orchestra and the choir are much more than artistic structures. They are examples and schools of social life, because to sing and to play together means to intimately coexist toward perfection and excellence, following a strict discipline of organization and coordination in order to seek the harmonic interdependence of voices and instruments. That’s how they build a spirit of solidarity and fraternity among them, develop their self-esteem and foster the ethical and aesthetical values related to the music in all its senses. This is why music is immensely important in the awakening of sensibility, in the forging of values and in the training of youngsters to teach other kids.

— Jose Antonio-Abreu, in his 2009 TED Prize Wish

Follow this link to see the video of the talk, and here to read the complete transcript of the talk.

Here is the video from a surprise satellite-fed performance by one of El Sistema’s Youth Orchestras, performing live in Venezuela after the Abreu talk. Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, an alumnus of El Sistema and, beginning in 2009, the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The energy, passion, and discipline of this group of high-school-aged students is truly breathtaking. I’ll borrow from the TED blog’s words, by asking you to please take 20 minutes and

…accept this astonishing gift from a bunch of kids in another country who might have lived lives of futility … but instead discovered the transformative power of music.

Behold and enjoy the results of 35 years and the dedication of an entire country.


Star-Spangled Banner – 2009 Stanford Open

February 6, 2009

We were invited back to Burnham Pavilion on January 23-24, 2009, to perform for the 2009 Stanford Open gymnastics meet. This time, we got to play for the packed house at the NCAA men’s meet on Saturday night. It was a rambunctious crowd, but all fell silent the moment we took our bow and put our violins up. Still in silence, we set our bows, and from that cavernous space emerged our first note. That moment of silence just before the first note is always the most magical, and also the scariest. On the “Star-Spangled Banner”, which starts on an up-beat, I can only use eye contact with the players and a short inhale to indicate when we begin. The rest is just group rhythm. We have to rely on our well-trained senses after that.

I’m always amazed when we actually do it. We practice, we prepare mentally and physically, but we never know what’s going to happen in a performance until we do it. This year, there were 11 students, ages 6 through 9, on our team of players. We had earned our place there, and we filled that space with a sound and poise that honored the opportunity we had been given. The “Star-Spangled Banner” experience is always filled with growth for the individual students and the collective. They learn to prepare well, to listen to each other, and to deliver a performance with confidence, even under potentially nerve-wracking conditions.

Thanks for sharing this step on our journey of personal development through music performance!