The Art of Possibility

Lately I came across the work of Benjamin Zander. He was the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for 20 years. He is also a renowned music teacher with students from all over the world. Apart from his musical career he co-authored a book called ‘the Art of Possibility’.  In a TED-talk about the Transformative Power of Classical Music you get insight in Zander’s ambition to touch people’s lives through classical music. Although I am probably in his third category (see video), I must admit that his approach definitely worked for me. As a follow up I searched the web for several of his master classes and it was truly amazing to understand what the right attention and guidance can achieve in the performance of young musicians.

Rule number 6

Through his work as a conductor and a musician, Benjamin Zander has a story to tell. And apart from his musical endeavors he also wrote a book about his outlook on life. It wouldn’t do him justice to summarize ‘the Art of Possibility’ as just another one of those be-positive-self-help-books. Nevertheless, the suggestions in the book are simple and it starts with the recognition that almost everything in life is invented by someone at some point in time. In his talk for Teachers.tv (Work – How to give an A) Zander explains how rating his students with an A already at the start of the course has a massive impact on their attitude over the year. The video gives a glimpse of that, the book provides a whole range of powerful stories and examples of the same.

The title of the book reflects a general attitude and basically a way of live as presented by the authors. Working and living based on possibilities is much more than just being positive. It changes your perspective completely and then there is no limit to what can be achieved. An essential piece of advice in that is of course ‘Rule number 6’; I leave it to Zander to explain it in detail in the video. If neglected the negative impact can be huge which makes it potentially the most important piece of advice in the book.

For inspiration

When watching his master classes on YouTube it is easy to see the gifted musician and teacher. But the main impression after the book and the videos is that Benjamin Zander is also a great story teller. It is the stories that you will remember and that will touch on a deeper level of truth and emotion. For that reason I included the book in my 2iQ library and one of his lectures under For Inspiration.

Happy viewing and reading…