My #TEDxOxford talk

I’m just in the middle of a blog reflecting on the year that was, and realised that I hadn’t actually blogged about my #TEDxOxford talk, so I decided to put that post on hold, and write about the talk – not just what it was about, but what it was like to give a TEDx talk!

First, if you’ve got 18 minutes, watch it here… then you can skip me telling you what it was about below!

For those who don’t have 18 mins – straight away, at least – my talk was really (as you might expect) a propoganda advocacy piece for music education. As usual I’m on a collection of hobby-horses around the importance of the place of the music (and the arts especially) in education; for a pluralist approach to music education that avoids being so western art music-centric, even if we music educators generally have that background; for the adoption of music that’s made with technology, and the learning of music through the creation of music (“composition” or “song writing”, if you prefer); and for the provision of properly trained music educators for all age groups of children (and that training involves the understanding of the sophistications of popular music). I wrapped this all up in a bit of what I always feel is magical about sound, and how we hear/perceive sound, and how wondrous and amazing all music is – including the creation of a short piece of music collaboratively with the audience!

Giving a TED(x) talk is something many others have written about before, and many of them have given full TED talks, and many times, so I won’t go on about it here. What I will mention here is how petrified I was, walking onto that stage (watch the start again and see if you can spot it!), due not only to a packed theatre of 1800 in Oxford, UK, but also to the fact I hadn’t really taken on the fact I had to completely memorise the talk (I’d wrongly assumed I’d see my slide notes on the stage screen, which you don’t), and a couple of days before this nursing a cold I must have picked up on the plane over from Sydney (or maybe on my -2 run around Primrose Hill on arrival). The offhand gag about working at the Sydney Con was something I’d thought of in one of my practices at my hotel room wall, but I hadn’t planned to put it in. It just came out. And when the audience laughed, all that fear was gone and I was fine. I even managed to control my timing well enough to use up every last second. Yes – I’d do another TED talk, even though it was an awful lot of work and panic. Big thanks to the University of Sydney for funding my flights and my leave, and to TEDxOxford for covering expenses in Oxford itself.

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