In my book, Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music, business leaders and CEOs espoused the lessons from music education that translated beyond the band room to other endeavors in life. One of the 9 common lessons of music articulated repeatedly by the proponents was confidence and self-esteem. Stepping up to the mic and performing provided a vehicle that gave them the courage to showcase their talents and express their ideas beyond the world of the music.
Freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa of the Alabama Crimson Tide provided one of the most memorable moments in the history of college football last week, and one of the most improbable. Entering the game in the second half to give his struggling offense a lift, Tua threw three touchdowns, including a 41-yd strike in overtime that game his team a dramatic win and the national championship.
The poise shown by the young man on this college sporting world’s biggest stage was startling. Yet everyone who comes in contact with him says that he’s a special person, possessing a certain “it” factor that gives you a sense that he is destined for greatness.
It’s no wonder that Tua is a talented singer and ukulele player who grew up singing in the church choir with his family. As you’ll see in the video below, he also occasionally entertains his teammates and coaches behind the scenes, a little diversion and perhaps a team-building activity. Well done, music man!
Jazz singer/songwriter Dave Frishberg once recorded a song entitled “You Would Rather Have the Blues,” a tongue-in-cheek narrative poking fun at people who are always looking for reasons to be unhappy. Though the song was written long before the social media revolution, one might surmise that the tune is aimed directly at the Twitter nation.
Alicia Keys performed the Star Spangled Banner kicking off tonight’s Super Bowl in the New Orleans between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Fancisco 49ers. It’s a role that has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. Some artists lip-synch the song to a pre-recorded track, some sing live and get criticized for not sounding great, some have forgotten the lyrics. Some are blasted for taking too many liberties with the melody.
The version that Ms. Keys performed this evening was simply spectacular. The combination of her restrained piano accompaniment to her extraordinary vocals, both of which were performed live, was wonderfully simplistic and appropriately poignant. The chordal arrangement was thoughtful and reserved. Many vocalists prefer the safety blanket of a large orchestral backup, yet the honest emotion of piano and voice was consistent with the style of the artist and daunting to pull off in such a setting. And you never had the sense that she believed that she or her performance were bigger or more important than the song itself, a trait becoming rarer and rarer in the day of Megastars and Super Bowl production overkill.
Yet the initial response on the social media outlets focused on the length of the song, a whopping 2 minutes 30 seconds preceding a game that exceeded 4 hours. Amazing. It should be noted that most of the early reviews that focused on the performance itself have been very positive, some concurring with me that it ranked as one of the all time best at this event. If you didn’t care for Alicia’s performance, let me know who has done a better job performing the song LIVE in the history of the Super Bowl – a short list I’m sure.
By the way, Kudos to local New Orleans Piano Showroom, Lafargue Pianos. Technicians from the local Yamaha Piano dealer were summoned to give Ms. Keys’ Grand Piano some prep work, and the look and sound were outstanding.
Here’s a video of tonight’s performance…
The Academy of Achievement (Achievement.org) is a great repository of interviews (transcripts, podcasts, and videos) with achievers, leaders, and innovators from the worlds of business, the arts, public service, science & exploration, and sports. Here’s a fun tool from the website called “Find Your Mentor.” Select from pull-down menus to identify the pursuit, the personality, and the challenges faced by their database of achievers to determine which ones match your own criteria to find your “Academy of Achievement Mentor.”
Mentor tool link at the Academy of Achievement website.