True mentorship requires bold transparency – Brandon Steppe at TEDxSanDiego 2017

Brandon Steppe’s heartfelt talk centers on the concept that the truth will indeed set you free. He shares about a time in his life when pain and fear had the potential to devour him, but his wife inspired him to channel those feelings and open up a music studio in his garage where he can work with young and struggling artists, with whom he has things in common.

He recalls the relationship with a 15-year old boy that he mentored, and how the vulnerability between the two of them changed his perception, and ultimately, his reality. Brandon discovered that the key to forming a bond of trust and openness was to be open and share his truth, and by doing so, discovered that therein lies the healing.

David’s Harp Foundation

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Humanizing the refugee crisis – Brian Sokol at TEDxSanDiego 2017

In this modern and brilliant discussion of the refugee crisis, Brian Sokol describes the devastating reality of the refugees who have fled from South Sudan to the border of Uganda in search of a better life for themselves and their children. He experiences them with great decency, humanity, and respect, as he came to know them individually on his journey as a photojournalist.

Sokol cautions the audience that statistics alone do not describe this group of people, but instead, lead to pity and shame. He asks, “how often do we use stats to describe people we love?” If we are to understand the reality of the refugee crisis then we need to hear their stories, and see what’s in their hearts. He argues that statistics dehumanize the 2.1 million people who fled to Uganda, and they are good human beings who are desperate for a better and safer life.

Brian Sokol Website

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Does Music Change a Child’s Brain? – John Iversen at TEDxSanDiego 2015

How does a person’s individuality, their likes and dislikes, skills and talents, depend on their particular brain growth? Neuroscientist John Iversen envisions a future where a person’s education is based on their specific brain development to help each person meet their highest individual potential.

Iversen imagines that when children go to the doctor and receive their height and weight measurements, their growth chart will also include brain growth measurements. Neurological mapping technologies can already show us measurements of the average growth in certain areas of the brain. So children will see how certain areas of their brain development compares to their age’s average, and which areas need more stimulation.

So what does music have to do with measuring brain development or influencing brain development? Neurological researchers often look for connections between behavioral measures and brain measures, but a less popular area of neurological studies is music cognition research.

We know that music evokes memories and has many positive academic and social benefits. Through neurological mapping technology we know that the brain is touched, activated and deactivated, by music, and this technology can show us exactly which areas of the brain are stimulated by music. Iversen wants to use music as a tool to help understand and influence the brain.

As a researcher for the SYMPHONY Study at UCSD, Iversen currently conducts a study in schools to examine correlations between music students and improved rhythm perception, rhythm perception and improved language tests, and finally beat perception tests and larger areas of the brain’s cortex. Iversen wonders whether music enlarges certain important areas of the brain and whether music can target the development of certain areas of the brain. Based on the suggestions of his profound research, Iversen makes a progressive claim about who can benefit the most from musical training.

John Iversen Website


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