Teaching Drama

Radiate Possibility and Make Fascinating Mistakes

The only reason to practice is to make the notes so beautiful that we care what happens to them.


Today, being Monday, is supposed to be our weekly edition of Spread The Love. But Craig and I watched this video last night, and it was so inspiring, so full of love for the possibility of conversation, of education, so full of love period, that we had to share it with you. In keeping with the Spread the Love spirit, we’ll both offer up our thoughts…

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, spoke at the 2008 Pop Tech Conference. He presents two conversation models: the downward spiral where everything is finite, unchangeable and anxious, and the possibility model where everything radiates into the infinite. Everything is possible. Mistakes are not negative finite things. They become fascinating opportunities.


The lesson in the video focuses on music, but substitute theatre for music and think about the possibilities. What if the aim of rehearsal was to make the words so beautiful we care what happens to them? What would plays be like in that situation? I tell you, it makes me swoon a little to think of the beauty of words and the possibility of their importance. It also gives me such a sense of hope to know there’s someone out there with this vision for education, and that he’s practicing it in a classroom.


My take-away lesson from this video is monumental. Those of us involved with the arts have an extraordinary gift. We open a world of possibilities for our audiences, we can take them to places they never could go on their own. Let’s embrace this gift, keep the conversation and the possibilities flowing. And if we make a mistake, let’s throw our hands to air and loudly proclaim, “How fascinating!”

About the author

Lindsay Price