PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Livingston Taylor

Lesley O'Connell
October 24, 2017
Livingston Taylor
Image by Mim Adkins

Voice Professor Livingston Taylor, donning his signature bow tie, enters through the back of the classroom earlier this fall, greeting students as he makes his way to the front. He begins class by looking out the window and riffing on the scene outside on Boylston Street: He sees a bicycle and launches into micro-lessons about the march of technology, the inventions of the bicycle and the car, how water refracts light on pavement, and the percentage of nitrogen in the atmosphere.

“Why am I telling you this?” he asks students in his Stage Performance Techniques class. “I don’t know, except that you are creators,” he says. “You get to wander where no one else can go.”

After inspiring students to stretch their creative boundaries in unexpected places, he goes on to talk about the balance of power in performance: “We need an audience; the audience doesn’t need us,” he tells his students, who hang onto his every word. The whole time, Taylor is performing, remaining perfectly in character.

A couple of weeks after his bicycle ruminations, Taylor came to the BIRN studios to break down the mystique of his lessons. In this episode of Inside Berklee, he also shares his thoughts on the elements of successful performance techniques, the value of being “ferociously curious,” the state of the industry, and his own experiences from the road.

Producer: Lesley O'Connell
Engineers: Tony Brown and Darcy Davis
Recorded in partnership with the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN)