What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Conducting is Like Telepathy with 100 People

February 1, 2014, 7:00 PM
Shutterstock_128018300

What the public sees of what a conductor does is a tiny, tiny part of the work.  The majority of what a conductor does is in isolation.  It’s thought of as the most public job there is, but in fact, it’s a tremendously private job that is primarily involves studying.  That’s primarily what a conductor does.  He has to understand why every F sharp is in where it is, and how best to play that piece of music.  

When a conductor comes into the rehearsal process, it’s a very, very compressed amount of time.  The good conductor will have come up with say, hundreds or thousands of marks to go to the orchestra’s parts so that they can do what the conductor wants without his having to say anything.  

And in fact, one of the primary things a conductor does is to exude confidence and knowledge.  You can’t exude confidence and knowledge if you don’t know what you want. Knowing what you want saves all the time in the world.  

And so if you can go to a rehearsal and just know what you want and show what you want, and listen to what the orchestra is giving you and show them "no, no, not that way - this way," without even words, they get it immediately.  And the orchestra, they’re not children. They don’t need you to show them everything. They need to know what you want clearly. They need to know, as a unit, exactly what you want and they have to want to give it to you.

So you have to inspire them to give you what you want. And either by showing, by feeling, by willing, by knowing, or all of those things, you bring the group together.  

There’s an experience when you’re talking to a friend and you have that, "Oh my God, we both had the same thought at the exact same time," that magic spark that makes everybody smile.  Conducting an orchestra is like that happening with 100 people at the same time.

Everybody suddenly gets the same thing at the same moment.  And they transmit that feeling to the audience.  So that everybody in the room is having the same experience.  And it begins with the conductor knowing what he wants in the score and being able to show it in some way to the orchestra so that they give it back.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy fo Shutterstock. 

 

Conducting is Like Telepath...

Newsletter: Share: