It was 14 years ago that conductor Benjamin Zander drew upon his experiences with the Boston Philharmonic and as a teacher in order to assist his wife — psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander — to write The Art of Possibility.
In this book, the maestro recalls a time he was teaching a class at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass. There, Zander administered a pop quiz in which he asked his students to write about the similarities between the NASA space program and their life with music.
This all came as the result of Zander being called to NASA the following day in order to deliver a lecture about leadership. His students were familiar with these types of requests because they often talked about dreams, aspirations and possibilities in the classroom. It was a means of enabling the students to live their lives in a wider context than the daily routine of practice, classes and occasional performances.
Here’s what one16-year-old student wrote:
You are the diplomats, the representatives of the world over here. You are going into the nowhere to search and to be intrigued at the smallest inkling of discovery. You are representing us to discover, explore, and find the possibility to escape the box known as Earth, and go as far as possible. You have the responsibility to push thinking and ideas beyond limits, into the ethers, through the nothing into the something. Music is similar to space. It is