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Maria Giudice

Director of Product Design,

TEDCRED 200+

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What was the most amazing social experience you had and why?

I'm doing a research project on engaging, public, social experiences and trying to understand what makes them so special. Looking for patterns here, so, no wrong answers!

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    Feb 20 2011: Hard to pick just one... a great one was when I was probably about 17 or 18. At the time I was studying jazz trombone and played in several groups. Periodically I'd go to a jazz club nearby and sit in on the open mike nights. I wasn't very good, but I was learning. Most of the regulars were in their 30's/40's - some pretty talented players. But every once in a while there'd be a big concert in the city and then the band would come out to this club after to jam at the open mike night. On those nights the club was filled the old guard - guys who played with Diz, the Duke, the Count, etc. When I'd get on stage to jam with them, I was beyond nervous - it was like being plucked from a backyard soccer match to play in the World Cup finals. But the moment the music started, it was like I had a magic instrument. I couldn't play a wrong note. In fact, it felt like they knew was I was going to play before I played; that I was playing a piece of pre-composed music and we had been practicing it for weeks.

    I eventually realized that these musicians possessed a set of skills that transcended musical ability. They understood the music so well that they could focus their entire attention on trying to understand me. They would figure out what I was going to play from the most subtle nuances in my body language. Then they'd create a perfect supporting structure and even put in anticipatory flairs to assist me, just so I didn't accidentally forget where I wanted to go! They were literally playing me as if I were just another instrument. They were also doing this to each other, which is why even the simplest of songs had a vibrancy and resonance beyond what the acoustics of the room could ever hope to provide.
    • Feb 20 2011: I was amazed to read the liner notes for my CD of "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis had a description of Dwayne Allman listening to that album over and over for the inspiration it gave him to improvise. I've always liked both: it was great to see those two rivers flow together.

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