Improvising on Piano: Jennifer Lin (Age 14)

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Jennifer Lin in 2004

Concert pianist and composer Jennifer Lin gives a magical performance, talks about the process of creativity and improvises a moving solo piece based on a random sequence of notes.

Jennifer Lin, born in Florida in 1990, was only 14 when she performed at TED, drawing tears with her extraordinary improvisation.

A student of the Yamaha Music Education System from the age of 4, pianist Jennifer Lin has an unusual talent for improvisation. Speaking at TED, she compared her creative process to drawing a comic, and admitted that the state of “flow” — when she is able produce beautiful music instantly — cannot be forced. 

Her virtuoso performances, particularly the improvisations, are profoundly moving, and — even via podcast — have been known to reduce listeners to tears. As one blogger recorded, “I was listening to a presentation by a 14-year old girl named Jennifer Lin who plays the piano like whoa … I wasn’t expecting it, and when she was a minute or two into the piece, I was literally crying in the crowded subway car.” Lin was featured on ABC World News Tonight as Person of the Week and also appeared on a “Little Geniuses” segment on Oprah, where Winfrey declared her “a miracle prodigy.”

She has performed for Oprah and The Daily Show, among others. On The Oprah Winfrey Show, she composed a piece on the spot with 5 random music notes that Oprah chose.

http://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_lin_improvs_piano_magic.html

 

A Bucket Of Shrimp with A Heart of Thankfulness

I am a sucker for a good story. You probably have heard of Max Lucado

or read some of his books. He has a knack for telling a simple story

making it sound so interesting & inspiring that you wouldn’t put the story down till you’re finished.

Here’s one case “In The Eye Of The Storm” he related the story of an old guy

named Ed weekly routinely making his way to the pier with his bucket of shrimp . . .

 

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier.. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts…and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, ‘Thank you. Thank you.’

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn’t leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like ‘a funny old duck,’ as my dad used to say. Or, ‘a guy who’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,’ as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant . . . maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida . That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft.

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal – a very slight meal for eight men – of it. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait . . . and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea. 

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying, ‘Thank you.’ That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

The Enigma With Golf

THE ENIGMA WITH GOLF

Golf is said to be better than sex – more “sexiting”!  Why then so

segregated as compared with other sports? Why its popularity?

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Two novice women golfers are out on the course one day. The first tees up her ball, swing, and watches as it takes off on a 90-degree angle. It flies about 20 yards, hits a rock, bounces off a cart path, hits a tree, careens off the tree and finally comes to rest in the middle of the fairway.

“Hey!” exclaims her friend, giving her a miffed look. “Why didn’t you tell me you’ve been practicing?”

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Is this the scenario to explain why fewer women play golf than men? But then why do so many men play such a frustrating game? Could this be a cultural phenomenon – a past legacy of the alpha males playing at exclusive clubs? Tennis, a traditional country-club sport, however, is now being played by nearly as many women as men. With the availability of the abundant public courses in Australia, a trend should come round to see the number of woman players on the increase.

I guess such drama, no exception with men, makes up for golf as a less action-packed sport. Yet in a typical PGA Championship, the spectators that watch the game amounts to millions including those millions that watch it on television. Golf features no body contact, unlike Aussie football, and no car crashes nor cheerleaders . . . yet men are hooked with golf, making it the most segregated sport by sex than any other.

Frustration or incompetence never seems to deter guys from becoming obsessed with it. Golf is truly a “magnificent obsession”. It is claimed that golf is better than sex. A below par performance is considered good in golf as maintained by David Letterman in his Late Night Show’s Top Ten List. Best of all, if your equipment gets old and rusty, you can replace it.

According to the List, as an encouragement to seniors, you can still make money. Three times a day is even possible and your partner doesn’t hire a lawyer if you do it with someone else. If you live in Perth, as in Florida, you can do it every day – with the exceptional wet days.

I guess nothing sells like sex. With such truism, hefty prize money awards for both men and women, great television promotions drawing an increasing large captive audience, such affordability with the opening of abundant public golf course, and the fact that once hooked you’ll be hooked for life, I dare say no other game can be as popular as golf.

Enjoy it!

Paul Chong

An Avid Golfer