Received 3 puchased DVDs in the mail yesterday: Freiburg Orch playing Bach Brandenburgs, Herbert Von Karajan conducting Beethoven’s 4 & 5th symphony and Touch the Sound.
Also received the first of 10 Netflix disks of the 50s TV series: “Young Person’s People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic” Leonard Bernstein (pictured above). I put Bernstein on first. I purchased a book that selectively transcribes these shows this summer. I like Bernstein’s aesthetic a lot and I’m always looking for ways to talk about music to listeners.
What I like most about the Bernstein recordings is that they are so obviously early live TV (1958). Instead of a teleprompter he is working from two scripts, one at the podium and one at the piano. He grunts and hums along as he demonstrates and conducts. Some engineer has obviously been instructed not to turn down his mic because he occasionally talks over the music to the audience.
The show was too long for me. The pace was slow and even the young audience from an era of longer attention spans gets tired about halfway through the whole thing.
Read about 25 pages into Luntz’s “Words that Work” last night. So far I have been caught up in his ability to move back and forth in opposed political interest groups even though he is a declared conservative. (And reading this book, you can tell he really is brain dead conservative on many issues.) Secondly, his insight that “it’s not what you say, it’s what is being heard” is a very important thing to think about in terms of teaching and communication.
I am reminded of an article I wrote several years ago. The editor sent it back and told me I was writing for too educated a reader. Instead of college level vocab he wanted me to consciously take it down to 7th grade. For some reason I saw this as an interesting challenge and did several rewrites to achieve this.
Clarity (for me) is always a high value. If the vocab is not familar to the listener or reader, the speaker or writer has failed to communicate. Unless of course he expects the reader to pick up a dictionary.
Luntz is clear that it is not just style that helps communication it is also content. Some ideas are wrongheaded no matter how well they are “framed.” I agree with him on this, but I suspect that our ideas differ radically.
He lists off the ten basic rules of communication in his first chapter: simplicity, brevity, credibility, consistency, novelty, sound, aspiration, visualization, questioning and context.
It’s a good list. He suggests an 11th that would address the need for visual symbols.
When I am teaching, I write a daily “word for the day” on the board before each class. I tell the class that I find I use words that people sometimes do not recognize. A “word for the day” might help with this. Unless I warn them, I don’t put these words on tests and quizzes.
Not sure this is effective beyond demonstrating my own obvious conviction that words are important. No wonder I picked up a book called, “Words that Work,” eh?