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  1. #1

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    Inspiring speech for musicians, athletes (well... everyone)

    I hope some of you FSUers will like this as much as I did. This is one of the best speeches I have ever heard. While it's given to musicians, it's really for anyone who has ever competed for anything (which is all of us). It's heartfelt, funny, down-to-earth and inspiring. (It's called "Loser's Club.")

    It's from Jon Nakamatsu, Gold Medalist of the 1997 Van Cliburn International Competition. As many of you probably know, it's kind of like the Olympics for concert pianists.

    About 10 years ago, the Cliburn Foundation started another International Competition, this one for amateur pianists. Jon has served on the jury for this event on several occasions. He gave this speech in 2007, just before the finalists were announced.

    As an aside: while he is now a highly acclaimed and successful concert solo pianist (since winning the big Cliburn prize), Jon did not go to Juilliard or any big music school. He studied with a local teacher in San Francisco from age 6 through adulthood. He majored in German at Stanford.

    Here's the link (it's 9 minutes, but do watch the whole thing if you can, it just gets better and better--you won't be disappointed):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5smz7gycqQ
    Last edited by skateboy; 02-20-2013 at 08:38 AM.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    Thanks skateboy! And thanks to Jon Nakamatsu, a great loser who understands the meaning of failure and the meaning of success (and knows how to treat both imposters the same). He also sure knows how to give a great speech too! The audience reactions are priceless.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 02-20-2013 at 09:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I hope some of you FSUers will like this as much as I did. This is one of the best speeches I have ever heard. While it's given to musicians, it's really for anyone who has ever competed for anything (which is all of us). It's heartfelt, funny, down-to-earth and inspiring. (It's called "Loser's Club.")

    It's from Jon Nakamatsu, Gold Medalist of the 1997 Van Cliburn International Competition. As many of you probably know, it's kind of like the Olympics for concert pianists.

    About 10 years ago, the Cliburn Foundation started another International Competition, this one for amateur pianists. Jon has served on the jury for this event on several occasions. He gave this speech in 2007, just before the finalists were announced.

    As an aside: while he is now a highly acclaimed and successful concert solo pianist (since winning the big Cliburn prize), Jon did not go to Juilliard or any big music school. He studied with a local teacher in San Francisco from age 6 through adulthood. He majored in German at Stanford.

    Here's the link (it's 9 minutes, but do watch the whole thing if you can, it just gets better and better--you won't be disappointed):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5smz7gycqQ
    Fantastic speech! I had never heard of Jon Nakamatsu, but as someone who loves public speaking- and I have been a Toastmaster for many years- I really enjoyed the humor in the speech, and the profound message in it. Most of all, I loved the audience reaction. Thank you for posting the link, and I am going to post it on my facebook, so my Toastmaster friends get to enjoy it too. Many of us have lost Speech contests, and would love to join this "loser's Club"

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    Glad you enjoyed it, aftershocks and Vash01. I too posted it on my Facebook page.

    When first watching/listening, it seems like your basic, ordinary But from about 3:30 on it just gets better and better, until the end where I felt like I wanted to stand up and cheer.

    It's a great speech, with a message for all of us.
    Last edited by skateboy; 02-20-2013 at 07:55 PM.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    Yeah, Vash01 and skateboy, I love the lighthearted humor in the speech coupled with a profound message, and Nakamatsu's delivery is spot-on. His remarks are also just the right length (not too long, and not too short).

    Vash01, this definitely seems to me like a speech that could win an International Toastmasters' contest, or at the least runner-up. I love the ending line. Maybe Nakamatsu has had Toastmasters' training, or perhaps he completed speech and debate classes in school -- or maybe not. He certainly seemed to have not one butterfly winging around in his stomach, but he's also had a lot of experience losing on stage, which likely helped rid him of any and all stage fright.

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    Experience might help control stage fright, but I've never met a performer, no matter how experienced, who didn't have some measure of nervous anticipation before going on stage. If you don't, you're quite frankly not invested enough. And speaking as a performer, the level of stage fright is feel is completely different depending upon what I am doing - playing clarinet, singing, public speaking. Each one is a totally different monster. I did think he seemed a little nervous, though, especially at the beginning.

    Nakamatsu's speech was wonderful, and so true. The part about being told that the Japanese can't play Chopin - ouch. Goodness.
    Last edited by michiruwater; 02-21-2013 at 08:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Yeah, Vash01 and skateboy, I love the lighthearted humor in the speech coupled with a profound message, and Nakamatsu's delivery is spot-on. His remarks are also just the right length (not too long, and not too short).

    Vash01, this definitely seems to me like a speech that could win an International Toastmasters' contest, or at the least runner-up. I love the ending line. Maybe Nakamatsu has had Toastmasters' training, or perhaps he completed speech and debate classes in school -- or maybe not. He certainly seemed to have not one butterfly winging around in his stomach, but he's also had a lot of experience losing on stage, which likely helped rid him of any and all stage fright.
    Aftershocks, you sound like a Toastmaster (are you?). Yes, this is a very high quality speech. I have found that people that have some experience performing (as a musician or actor, etc.) have a lot of confidence in their speeches, no matter how much or how little experience they have in public speaking. To some, it comes naturally (that certainly did not come naturally to me )

    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    Experience might help control stage fright, but I've never met a performer, no matter how experienced, who didn't have some measure of nervous anticipation before going on stage. If you don't, you're quite frankly not invested enough. And speaking as a performer, the level of stage fright is feel is completely different depending upon what I am doing - playing clarinet, singing, public speaking. Each one is a totally different monster. I did think he seemed a little nervous, though, especially at the beginning.

    Nakamatsu's speech was wonderful, and so true. The part about being told that the Japanese can't play Chopin - ouch. Goodness.
    I agree that there is always some nervousness before a performance. I have been giving speeches for 13 + years and competed many times in speech contests (lost many times too), and yet I feel some nervousness before I give a regular (not a contest) speech in one of my Toastmasters clubs. People learn to use the nervous energy effectively to add punch to their performance (I did learn that part). My experience is that the nervousness is BEFORE the performance (in my case the speech), but once I am standing there, it is (almost) gone; what stays with me is the energy/excitement. It could be happening to other types of performers too.

    The nervous energy can also be used to create humor, like Nakamatsu did. His audience connection was incredible. They were laughing at the right spots.

    As a side note, I liked the fact that in the piano competitions it seems the judges tell the losers (for lack of a better word) where they need to improve. I am sure the quality of judges must be extremely high at the Van Cliburn competition, so their evaluation of a performance must help the pianists improve in major ways.

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    I've known about Jon Nakamatsu's career; and this wonderful speech for several years.
    I listen to it whenever I need inspiration - and a reminder that goals are worth the effort it sometimes takes to reach them.

    Now, give yourself a treat, and listen to his fabulous playing, in this excerpt from a piece which will be familiar to all skating fans:

    George Gershwin ~ Piano Concerto in F
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrhqQ-3xl0k

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    I've known about Jon Nakamatsu's career; and this wonderful speech for several years.
    I listen to it whenever I need inspiration - and a reminder that goals are worth the effort it sometimes takes to reach them.

    Now, give yourself a treat, and listen to his fabulous playing, in this excerpt from a piece which will be familiar to all skating fans:

    George Gershwin ~ Piano Concerto in F
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrhqQ-3xl0k
    Just listened to it; it's fabulous. Thanks for posting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Now, give yourself a treat, and listen to his fabulous playing, in this excerpt from a piece which will be familiar to all skating fans:

    George Gershwin ~ Piano Concerto in F
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrhqQ-3xl0k
    Thanks for that, skatesindreams. I've heard many of Jon's performances (he's from my neck of the woods) and he's always terrific. And such a nice guy.

    I'd never heard his speech until this last week. One of the best speeches, ever.

    And here's Jon playing Rach 3 in the finals of the Van Cliburn Competition (along with the 2nd & 3rd prizewinners), plus his being awarded the gold medal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QniWadT111o
    Last edited by skateboy; 02-21-2013 at 08:20 PM.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    I envy you for having the chance to hear him play, live.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 02-21-2013 at 11:07 PM.

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    Bumping this up. As I posted it in the middle of the night, I'm not sure too many of you have had a chance to see it.

    It's worth the watch.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    I'm a major follower of the Cliburn competition; and its' "amateur" counterpart,which is how I first heard "The Loser's Club".
    I placed "amateur" in quotes; because the only thing amateur about the performances of many of the participants, is that they aren't earning their living through playing,

    I'm already anticipating the next one:
    http://www.cliburn.org/amateur-competition/

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    I'm a major follower of the Cliburn competition; and its' "amateur" counterpart,which is how I first heard "The Loser's Club".
    I placed "amateur" in quotes; because the only thing amateur about the performances of many of the participants, is that they aren't earning their living through playing,

    I'm already anticipating the next one:

    http://www.cliburn.org/amateur-competition/

    I think there is a fsu thread about this.

    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...22-June-9-2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    Bumping this up. As I posted it in the middle of the night, I'm not sure too many of you have had a chance to see it.

    It's worth the watch.
    I posted the link for the speech on my facebook, thinking that many of my Toastmaster friends would enjoy it, but there has not been a single 'like' or a comment on it. Not sure why.

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    It's relevant to skating as well.

    Most opportunities for skaters to perform are in competitive contexts that ultimately end up ranking the skaters from first to last.

    But from an audience enjoyment point of view, performances that don't win may be just as successful or more than those that do. A great night of skating has a lot of great skating no matter what the results.

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