GLAMOUR; January 2005 / MILAN, ITALY

Nicoletta Spolini Can you explain me exactly your concept of "BASE"?

Michael Colgrass To me, a base for a person is like a port to an ocean liner. It's the place in yourself where you go to rest, to re-fuel, to get what you need for your next voyage. In human terms, it’s the place deep inside you where you go to remind yourself who you are and what you do. If you lost contact with your base you would lose contact with yourself, like a ship that could not find its dock. You'd be lost. For an artist, art is the base. An artist needs always to stay connected to it in some way in order to function as a human being. MORE…

December 2007

Sasha Amaya What do you want to hear in music?

Michael Colgrass I want to be transported. I think a piece of music should be like a good mystery story, where the composer is the detective who presents materials rich in conflicting elements, and then proceeds to resolve the mystery. And I expect all this to be done with a variety of skills, giving me solutions, but then, just when I think I have the answers, sending me again in a new direction where my curiosity is piqued even more. The music should be so compelling that if I were standing I would not walk on until it was finished. MORE…

MILAN, February 2005

Strategie Magazine Your background is in music. How did you start giving personal development workshops?

Michael Colgrass In 1980, NLP developers Robert Dilts and David Gordon modeled me for creativity in a workshop in San Francisco. Dilts published a book showing the results of that modeling, called, Tools For Dreamers, In 1983 John Grinder modeled me again for a week in Monterey. In the course of these contacts I developed an interest in NLP and became a trainer. Gradually I started to incorporate NLP and other techniques into my Creativity workshops, which I then called Excellence in Performance. NLP came about because co-founders John Grinder and Richard Bandler wanted to discover what goes right with someone who succeeds instead of what goes wrong when someone fails. They believed in modeling – picking people who were examples of success and extracting a teachable pattern from their behavior. This is really the performer’s way of doing things so I felt right at home. In fact, I had been modeling people all my life and I here I was discovering a group of people making a study of the things I value most. So then I found myself with two professions – that of a composer writing symphonies and a trainer giving workshops in human development. The two things are not that different. A composer writes for performers and I was simply expanding the borders of what human performance can encompass. MORE…


Heather Nicole Patton You pose a question in one of your workshops about what can be done, essentially, to keep music as a core part of the education.  The argument I often hear is music benefits other classes and test scores, but doesn’t stand on its own as a core subject.  What’s your counter-argument?

Michael Colgrass Music is the epitome of multi-tasking. Playing in a band or orchestra, children learn how to move their fingers correctly in systematic patterns on a musical instrument; gear their breathing to match the phrases they are playing; discriminate by ear between various pitches, playing them in tune and in rhythmic coordination with the other musicians around them; continually flick their eyes back and forth between the music and the conductor in order to follow non verbal instructions; and overcome their self-consciousness performing a demanding action on public display. MORE…


Vienna What are your workshops about?

Michael Colgrass I teach exercises on how to tune the human instrument – the body and brain. This includes such things as how to be at your best under pressure, to maintain concentration when faced with a time limit, to feel comfortable and relaxed when speaking publicly, and to utilize your energy efficiently. When time allows, I like to go a step further, showing people how they can balance their work with all the main aspects of their lives. The exercises are simple but require practice. Many of them have been developed in my workshops for over two decades, so I’ve had the chance to get reports from former participants and fine-tune the exercises they serve the practical needs of most professionals. MORE…