The Art of Possibility

I had the opportunity to attend a couple of fantastic events this week sponsored by ieSonoma (Innovate, Educate, Sonoma).

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 6.46.56 PMOn Tuesday night, I attended the keynote address: “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin Zander. He is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and he’s also an inspirational speaker who encourages a great deal of participation from his audience. Right from the start, he got us involved by inviting anyone who chose to do so to come up and sit on the stage with him. It seemed like a good idea, so my friend, Kandis, and I both decided to take him up on his offer. (You’ll see me in some of the photos below . . . I’m wearing a purple shirt). These photos were grabbed from the SSU Department of Education’s Flickr:

Rather than trying to describe his talk, I’ll just point you in the direction of this video – this is some of the same material he shared with us, and I highly recommend giving it a watch:

There are a few things I took away with me that seem worthwhile to share. For example, the rationale behind asking people to come sit on the stage went something like this: when people enter a room, and decide where to sit, it’s an indication of how they “show up” in their lives, and that people who make the choice to sit in the very front row are open to being exposed, rather than “hiding” by sitting farther back. Hearing that did give me some added motivation to get up and sit on the stage, when he offered that option.

I also really liked what he had to say about how we can empower others by the way we are in our lives. I think what stuck most was the idea that we can know that we’re reaching other people when their eyes “shine.” I do like the thought of asking myself, “How am I being right now, if my students’ eyes aren’t shining?”

My very favorite part, though, was near the end, when he encouraged everyone present to sing the “Ode to Joy” movement from Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken.
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Now, I can honestly say that I have sung onstage in the Green Music Center! Haha!

A complete photo album from the evening is available on the SSU School of Education’s Flickr: “The Art of Possibility


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