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… Ros, what can we do, what can we do.. These students are so anxious, they’re so concern, they’re so worried about the auditions, about the grades, the competitions.

benjamin_zanderThey’re so anxious they cannot take the risks with their lives that they need to take the audition to be a great artist.. What can you do?

She came up with this beautiful idea, and this is what I do, and I’ll share with you exactly how it works.

I come in my class at the beginning of the year and I have 40 students or so. And I say to them: Your grade is an A. That is your grade for the rest of the year. You are an A student. There is one condition: you have to write me a letter in the first two weeks which is dated at the year when the class ends. So the date at the top is May of the next year and the letter will begin like this:

Dear Mr. Zander,
I got my A because ….

Then they have to write the letter which is written as it where in the following year and describe who you will have become in the end of the year. And when I come into the room they write who they would be and who they could be, who they see themselves as if the voice stop telling them they can’t do it.

When I come into the class, the person I teach is the person they have described in their letter.

You see, I only take A students. (laughter & clapping)

Now it’s interesting there are few people I see in this room a little confused saying ‘How can he do that?’

Now the thing is you’ve given A to everybody, to a waitress, to a taxi driver, to mother-in-law. You give an A to anybody. And what happens when you give an A is that the relationship is transformed. The relationship is transformed! …

* Benjamin Zander is the music director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and a faculty member at the New England Conservatory

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