Saturday, September 19, 2009

Performing on one buttock

Benjamin Zander plays the piano and talks about eyes shining with wonderment at the power and beauty of music. As he illustrates the development of a young pianist, he reaches the stage where the player, totally absorbed in and moved by the music, leans her whole body to one side. “Playing on one buttock,” he calls it. Zander then recounts the experience of an entrepreneur who had heard him use this phrase during a presentation and then returned to a later event and informed him gleefully that his business was now operating more successfully because he had figured out how to run it “on one buttock.”

Whatever that means.

These days I am trying to figure out what one-buttock teaching might be like. To assist in this search, my students get to watch the Zander speech and then keep a sharp eye out for the phenomenon.

My hope is that we may not be able to define it, but we shall know it when we see it.

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