Communications Insight For More Inspiring Leaders A Lesson from a Concert Pianist

A Lesson from a Concert Pianist

 14th Feb 2022
Concert pianist, rachel starritt, has been blind since birth.

Last night, I was treated as an audience member to her extraordinary performance, live in concert with the Lambeth Orchestra, here in south London.

(I'll include links on Rachel's career as a musician in the Comments below.)

After the concert, our daughter (Freya, aged 10) who's learning piano had the opportunity to ask: "How much do you practice?"

Rachel replied: "When I'm preparing for a concert, between 3 and 4 hours a day."

Rachel's Mum swiftly added, "But when she was your age, Rachel didn't enjoy practicing that much!"

As a parent, I found that reassuring to hear. :-)

While Rachel has learnt to read braille music, it's clear she has a truly extraordinary ear. Able to 'see' in her mind and then play complex chords on first hearing.

That ability to 'see' in one's mind... To picture what you're focused on...

As true for presentations as it is for music. You know you've successfully internalised (not memorised) your content when you can picture the overall flow in your mind. That's when you can relax into it, removing the strain that so often blights spoken word delivery.

That's also why having a clear structure is so important.

When next preparing content to present...

Take the time to step back from precisely what you will say. Picture the overall flow... the structure of your content... the journey on which you wish to take your audience.

As a result, you may or may not receive the same ovation that Rachel deservedly received last night.

But you'll have served your listeners well.

#music #learning #publicspeaking #presentationskills #performance #piano

Fantastic, inspirational and spot-on stuff we need to improve our communication. They are communication wizards!


Mary Lou Masko | Course Director, Laing O'Rourke Centre, University of Cambridge­

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