HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW: Expressing Your Vulnerability Makes You Stronger. Many conductors have spoken of the importance of being vulnerable as a distinct quality. Two books come to mind, one by James Jordan, the other by Weston Noble, which discuss this mental aspect of conducting. “When angry or fearful, step back and be self-reflective. Don’t vilify your boss or co-workers or employees or competitors. Strive to put yourself in the shoes of your perceived adversary. Avoid impulsive statements and actions. Express regret or apology. Gain strength by allowing yourself to be humble and vulnerable.”
“A TENOR IS NOT A MAN BUT A DISEASE”: Insults from conductors in history.
LIFEHACKER: Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Graduate School. “Do all the extracurriculars you possibly can. Go to the guest speakers and lectures. Join study groups. Go on offsites and class trips. Join student societies. Assist professors who are looking for grad students to help out. When you do, you’re building on our first point: You’re meeting the people you’ll make valuable connections with.”
NY TIMES: A Tale of ‘Too Big to Fail’ in Higher Education. It looks like the City College of San Francisco has survived for now, but here’s the meat of the editorial: “Most of City College’s problems, however, remain unsolved. Its brush with mortality illustrates a much larger problem in higher education. Millions of students are enrolled in colleges accountable to no one other than accreditors that lack the will and authority to govern them. Because the consequences of closing these institutions are so severe, they have become, in effect, ‘too big to fail.'” I had reported earlier on the College’s problems here, but it does look like the College has survived more due to its political clout rather than its educational improvements.
LIFEHACKER HAS Three Tricks for dealing with anxiety. I like this one, which many singers summarize as being present: “Remember that anxiety is typically future-oriented, concerned with all the catastrophes that might happen. By describing your surroundings, you ground yourself in the present, preventing your anxiety from escalating any further. Before long, you’re not noticing your racing heart or your trembling hands quite as much. Once you’ve settled down a bit, you can then redirect your attention to what you’re supposed to be doing.”
LORIN MAAZEL has died at the age of 84. A former conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Maazel was one of the great American conductors of our time. He had a long and distinguished career in places such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and only became director of the NY Philharmonic at the age of 72. I love his comments at the end of this interview here on the importance of conducting (skip to about 4:35 if you are impatient).
Here is him putting that simplicity and directness into practice. He will certainly be missed.
TOMMY RAMONE has died.