O'Reilly logo

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

There's Always Room to Improve 187
Leonard Bernstein was a talented composer, conduc-
tor, pianist, teacher, and Emmy-winning television per-
sonality. He loved to talk about music and did so with
everyone: friends, colleagues, teachers, students, and
even children. Bernstein’s unique intelligence and wit
afforded him a reputation as music’s most articulate
spokesperson.
9
Variety magazine summed up his appeal
by stating “The [New York] Philharmonic’s conductor
has the knack of a teacher and the feel of a poet. The
marvel of Bernstein is that he knows how to grab atten-
tion and carry it along, measuring just the right amount
of new information to precede every climax.”
10
Of all the things Bernstein accomplished, leading the
Young People’s Concerts was one of his proudest lega-
cies. Several times a year, Carnegie Hall would fill with
young children who came to learn about classical music.
Bernstein would deliver a lecture-driven concert that
could hold the attention of small children for an hour
or more as he taught them complex music theory. The
lecture-concerts were successful because Bernstein
put the same energy and discipline into them that he
put into his music. www
Bernstein’s explanations, analogies, and metaphors
were delivered in a clear, simple, yet poetic presentation
Case Study: Leonard Bernstein
Young People’s Concerts
that consistently stayed at the children’s understanding
level. He isolated various layers of the music, explained
the theory behind it, played excerpts of it on the piano,
and used various instrumentalists to play portions of it.
Then, when the full piece was performed, the children
had a clearer understanding of the many nuances.
Below are three excerpts from one of the most dif-
ficult musical subjects to explain, “What is Symphonic
Music?” Bernstein uses items familiar to the children
as metaphors:
11
How does development actually work? It happens
in three main stages, like a three-stage rocket going
into space. The first stage is the simple birth of the
idea. Like a flower growing out of a seed. You all know
the seed, for example, that Beethoven planted at the
beginning of his [fifth] symphony, “dunt dunt dunt
duuuunt.” Out of it rises a flower that goes like this:
<plays piano>”
“[Brahms] puts two to three melodies togetherand
takes scraps of melodies and turns things upside
down like pancakes. But it’s not that it’s upside down
but that it sounds amazing upside down. Will it be
beautiful? That’s what makes Brahms so great. Music
doesn’t just change. It changes beautifully.”
“I’m hoping you’ll hear it with new ears and hear the
symphonic wonders of it, the growth of it, and the
miracle of life in it that runs like blood through its
veins and connects every note to every other note
and makes it the great piece of music that it is.”
Bernstein worked for days on his Young People’s Concert
scripts and rehearsed them several times so that when
he was talking it would sound as if he were just having a
calm, casual conversation with the children.
CH008.indd 187CH008.indd 187 8/16/10 6:17:46 PM8/16/10 6:17:46 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required