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BENJAMIN ZANDER: THE ART OF POSSIBILITIES

By January 11, 2014 2 Comments

TED ZanderBenjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping you realize your untapped love for it – and by extension, an untapped love for all new possibilities. Since 1979, Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.

He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues.

Zander proposes that you live your life on one butt cheek at a time.

A One Cheek Performance

At one point during his talk, Zander talks about the importance of playing the piano with only one cheek on the piano bench. That when you are creating and you use your body, the music moves through you differently, it stretches you and comes out of you more expressively – with more passion. Great pianists are moved by the music they play.

You open yourself to being moved by letting emotion and passion take hold of you.

Its in that combination that makes you feel utterly and completely capable.

Shining Eyes

Success is how many shining eyes you have around you. 

Shining eyes are the looks of inspiration, respect and passion that surround a great leader. At the end of his talk, Zander asks, “Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining.”

In other words, how can we improve ourselves so that we inspire the people around us?

It’s definitely something to think about.

Giving An A

Zander found many of his students in a state of anxiety and stress over their performances. They wouldn’t take risks and feared failure. To combat this he gave every student in his class an A at the beginning of the course.

To retain this grade, each student had only to write a letter telling Mr. Zander, in as much detail as possible, what he or she had done to earn the A, and how the student had changed and grown by the end of the year.

The student also had to describe to Mr. Zander the kind of person he or she had become.

Zander says, “An automatic and advance-graded A breaks barriers and enlivens a person’s actions. It lets him or her speak freely about his or her thoughts and feelings, and support others in their own dreams.

The A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into.”

More Zander Quotes

The practice of giving an A transports your relationships from the world of measurement into the universe of possibilities.

“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.”

“Find the right framework and extraordinary accomplishment becomes an everyday experience.”

The video of Benjamin Zander is from a TED Talk – listen to the first 4 and last 4 minutes.

APPLICATION: Do you like classical music? What did you learn from Zander? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Jones Bob

Author Jones Bob

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    Bob, one of my all-time favorite books. Ben is brilliant, as a musician, communicator, teacher and leader. Much to be learnt from his insights. Thanks for such a great post!

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks my friend, for connecting and commenting. I think a lot of Ben’s greatness has rubbed off on you.

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