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Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise.
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Jazz stands for freedom. It's supposed to be the voice of freedom: Get out there and improvise, and take chances, and don't be a perfectionist - leave that to the classical musicians.
Liquid architecture. It's like jazz - you improvise, you work together, you play off each other, you make something, they make something. And I think it's a way of - for me, it's a way of trying to understand the city, and what might happen in the city.
A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that's when cuisine is truly exciting.
I use a Bruce Lee technique: 'The way of no way.' He had the idea that he would learn everything, so that whoever he had to fight, he could improvise anything. The best way of starting a gig is just to not think of anything - to clear your mind, not in an empty Zen state, but more just to go on and see where you go.
I think the written word is probably the best medium of communication because you have time to reflect, you have time to choose your words, to get your sentences exactly right. Whereas when you're being interviewed, say, you have to talk on the fly, you have to improvise, you can change sentences around, and they're not exactly right.
More of me comes out when I improvise.
When I do an hour-and-a-half show, if I don't improvise 20 minutes worth of new material each night, I feel I've let myself down.
No, improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you're doing.
You have to grab moments when they happen. I like to improvise and ad lib.
Improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you're doing. That's a kind of paradoxical thing about improvising.
I don't write shows with dialogue where actors have to memorize dialogue. I write the scenes where we know everything that's going to happen. There's an outline of about seven or eight pages, and then we improvise it.
If you improvise a riff and the crowd immediately reacts to it, you know you're on to something.
I don't write any of my material down. I like to improvise and be spontaneous.
My voice is my improvisational instrument, the melody instrument. The guitar is harmonic structure. I'm not a good enough guitarist to improvise on it.
I'm very open and never write what I'm going to say. Speeches bore everybody else. I have to freestyle. Every time, from one program to another, everything changes and I improvise.
There's very little you could do to prepare to be a correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' because it's not being a journalist, it's not being an actor. It involves elements of both of those things, but they're not required necessarily as job experience. It's helpful if you know how to improvise, but again, not a requirement.
I also think if you're an actor and you can improvise, when you go on an audition and you can improvise you're just a genius. If you can, you know, take a Tide commercial and you can just say one funny line that's not in the commercial they think you're a genius.
When we were doing 'Freaks and Geeks', I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, and I would improvise even if the camera wasn't on me. I thought I was helping the other actors by keeping them on their toes, but nobody appreciated it when I would trip them up. So I was improvising a little bit back then, but not in a productive way.
But I really like hosting, I think it's a strength of mine. It allows me to improvise, and I love the spontaneity of that, and I think I'm funny behind the desk when interviewing someone.
I don't play the traditional Charlie Parker songs. But I do improvise and I do create with my instrument, and that to me is jazz. But there are people who use the word 'jazz' only in a traditional sense, and they would be offended by that, and that's fine.
My solo music - I get up onstage, I improvise and it's my improvisation. When I get up onstage with Fred Frith and Mike Patton, then we're improvising together. Then it's not my music; it's our music.
It's not that bad things never happen. But there's a pattern in which most people are calm, resourceful, altruistic, and they improvise emergency systems that work really well - whether it's getting the babies out of a collapsed hospital or putting together a community kitchen to feed everybody for the next few months.
I never planned my career. I never planned to be president of Harvard. People would have thought I was crazy, probably, at the age of 8 or 10 or 20, if I had said that. So what I would say to people planning their careers is to be ready to improvise. Be ready to follow up on opportunities as they unfold.
Drew Gilpin Faust
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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