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https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_tilson_thomas_music_and_emotion_through_time (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Listen to the Ted Talk, then answer the questions below.

1. Have you listened to Ted Talks before? (Keep in mind that Ted and TedX are different series, with Ted being more authoritative. TedX has good material, but sometimes some of the talks have questionable material.)

2. Who is Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT)? What do you think music means to MTT?

3. Share something that this Ted Talk by MTT helped change or enrich your understanding of western classical music.

4. Listen again to 03:44. “It’s so simple, so evocative. So many emotions seem to be inside of it. Yet, of course, like all music, it’s essentially not about anything. It’s just a design of pitches and silence and time.”

a.) How does the performed excerpt reflect the quote?
b.) How do you explain the paradox, that music is “just a design of pitches and silence and time,” yet can stir so many emotions within us?

5. Listen again to 08:25. “Now inspired moves of improvisation could be recorded, saved, considered, prioritized, made into intricate designs. And from this moment, classical music became what it most essentially is, a dialogue between the two powerful sides of our nature: instinct and intelligence.”

a.) Reflect on this dialogue between “instinct and intelligence.”
b.) Drawing from the other genres of music that you enjoy and are familiar with (rock, jazz, pop, rap, folk music, etc.), pick 2 songs, provide a link, and discuss how each of those songs is a dialogue between “instinct and intelligence.”
c.) Finally, compare each song with your understanding of western classical music.

6. Listen again to 14:32. “… when the musicians stopped playing, the music stopped. What happens when the music stops? Where does it go? What’s left? What sticks with people in the audience at the end of a performance? Is it a melody or a rhythm or a mood or an attitude? And how might that change their lives?”

a.) What does music mean to you?
b.) Has music changed your life before?
c.) Share an experience when the effect of a piece of music has had an effect on you after it stopped playing.
d.) What does “music appreciation” mean to you?

https://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

1. Who is Benjamin Zander? What do you think music means to Zander?

2. Share something that this Ted Talk by Zander helped change or enrich your understanding of western classical music.

3. Zander performs a Prelude by Chopin. Why did he pick this piano prelude?

4. He repeats the phrase, “shining eyes,” several times in his talk. Recount a time when your eyes shined? Who was it? What was it from? Was anyone else there to share the moment with you?

5. Zander is a man with confidence and charisma. However, the same Google search you used to answer the first question would have also provided you with this very dark article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. You can not judge a person from one Ted Talk, and it is also unfair to make conclusions based on one article, but how to square these two very different portraits of the same man?

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