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Comments from students at the New England Conservatory

Here are some comments from students in Benjamin Zander's Interpretation class as they finish up the year, in response to the question, "What has opened up for you this year?"

This class has been a confirmation of truths for me. The things we have discussed in this class have reminded and reaffirmed for me truths that I hold about music and life, some I already knew and felt strongly about and some of these truths surprised me but I felt as though I always knew them.


How does one explain everything in a paragraph? My playing has changed – the flute is now actually fun for me! But more importantly, my life has opened up for me! My stage fright is gone, I'm happy, and I'm taking risks in every area of my life!


I was really glad to take this class. I learned a lot of things, such as way of expression, music spirit, and thinking about music. I usually sat back row of class, but today I sat front row. Therefore, I could concentrate much more. I was so happy.


Respect, passions for the music you play. They can hear my passion in my music. They can hear I am the music.

Not only has this class changed my music, it has changed my life. This class has opened up my ability to live music when I am playing it. It is the only class I have taken at NEC that has dealt with music sincerely beyond technique and style. I have enjoyed the conversations more than anything. Feel free to talk as much as you want.

In this class I have noticed general holes in traditional music education. This class opens up artistry instead of assessing technical hang-ups. I realized this in my playing and enjoyed it more because of that.

A lot! This class was an inspiration – a two-hour time block every week where I knew I could come and find inspiration.

In this class I was very inspired by your authentic love for music, which is so contagious and is a source of energy, even in thought. Thank you. I will do my best to continue searching always deeper into music and make it always simply meaningful.

I learned the difference between the downward spiral I sometimes live/performed and the wonderful world of possibility – how to get there, that it exists and how wonderful it is to live/perform there. I love the idea of playing by the key word – what Roz was talking about. The idea of playing what's in the music – it's all there! And considering different possibilities and the effect it has on the music. Being the music – very different than playing the music – one outward looking in examining, other being the music and projecting it outwards.

Thank you for the inspiration! I always thought myself as a musician in terms of a job. But you showed the true musicianship. I loved your responsibility and real appreciation of the music. Thank you again. Also, encouragement for international students – Thank you!

It's so refreshing to go to Zander's class every afternoon and to be reminded of exactly why we are at music school! The atmosphere in that class is so friendly and free and students are able to play without fear in front of their peers! It is this freedom that is felt it can be taken into less friendly circumstances or performances.

This class might be one of the most meaningful class during my study in NEC. It didn't relate directly to any technical or theoretical issue but touch to the core of music, the spirit of life, and, the most important, merges music into life.

As for this class, I must say that it has been the most important class I have taken at NEC, and I will tell you why. We have done nothing but the absolute, most important work a musician could do. As for what I gained from this class, I really don't know how to say. I now know why I must do this and now know that I can do this. I can because it isn't about me. It's all there. We, as artists, just help others discover what is already there.

I enjoyed the class and realized how different between playing in public and practicing in the rehearsal room. I like to listen to everyone's playing and felt so curious how it will be after Mr. Zander's suggestion. Mr. Zander always gave me many new ideas I had never thought it before and it would make me reconsider every aspect of music.

Of course, you open up the possibility of “EVERYTHING.” It was not only music but also life. You open up ears, eyes, mind…. EVERYTHING.

This class should be required of all the Master Students! I'm taking away a whole new world. My thinking has changed (It's not done changing yet!), my playing has changed and my attitude. I recommend this class to everybody!

What opened up for me this year? When I wrote my “A Letter,” I had all of these ways I wanted to be: with music and my life in general. However, I didn't really believe it would happen. I hope it would happen, that things would change, but I had doubts. I am delighted to report that my life has really changed this year. I feel so much more involved in life, and like I really have something important to say with the way I play music, and teach, and live my life. I know every year people probably tell you this, but I really appreciate the work we've done. Thank You!

Your class is essential for every musician because it is more than just music but about communication and connecting with people. What opened up for me if that I am aware of the art of possibility and that shuns the fear of my own limitations, whether it's musical knowledge or technique problems. There are times I really want to communicate with you about how much I learned, despite your busy schedule, but I know the conversation will last forever, with everyone in a timeless fashion. If I recommended this class to a friend, I'll tell him or her to take it seriously.

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