Tom Thum: The orchestra in my mouth | TED | Summary and Q&A

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July 19, 2013
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TED
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Tom Thum: The orchestra in my mouth | TED

TL;DR

Tom Thum, a beatboxer, takes the audience on a journey through his unique sound-making abilities and shares his experiences from around the world.

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Key Insights

  • 🎀 Performing artist: The speaker, Tom Thum, is a beatboxer who uses his voice to create impressive sounds without any effects or instruments. He entertains audiences with his unique talent and has been able to make a career out of it.
  • 🌍 Global experiences: Tom Thum's passion for beatboxing has allowed him to travel and perform in various countries, experiencing different cultures and connecting with people worldwide.
  • 🎢 Variety of sounds: Throughout his performance, Tom showcases his ability to imitate different musical instruments, such as the didgeridoo, sitar, and guzheng, using only his voice. He proves the versatility of beatboxing as an art form.
  • πŸ”Š Technological aid: Tom incorporates Kaoss Pads into his performance, which enhance his beatboxing by adding effects like reverb and allowing him to loop his voice. This technology expands the possibilities of his craft.
  • 🎭 Transformative performance: Tom takes the audience on a journey, transforming the Sydney Opera House into a jazz bar atmosphere, complete with a double bassist and a jazz singer named Mr. Peeping Tom. He showcases the expansive range and adaptability of beatboxing.
  • πŸ’Ό Niche market: Tom acknowledges that beatboxing may not offer many career opportunities and highlights the challenges of pursuing his passion, particularly in his hometown of Brisbane. This indicates that beatboxing is still a relatively niche market.
  • πŸŒƒ Cultural hub: While acknowledging the limitations of his hometown, Tom appreciates the opportunity beatboxing has given him to travel to culturally rich places outside of Brisbane and Australia, allowing him to experience a wide variety of environments.
  • πŸ‘ Recognition and appreciation: The audience shows a great amount of support and enthusiasm for Tom's performance, applauding him for his talent and welcoming him as a successful beatboxer.

Transcript

My name is Tom, and I've come here today to come clean about what I do for money. Basically, I use my mouth in strange ways in exchange for cash. (Laughter) I usually do this kind of thing in seedy downtown bars and on street corners, so this mightn't be the most appropriate setting, but I'd like to give you guys a bit of a demonstration about what... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Tom's profession?

Tom is a beatboxer, using his mouth to create unique sounds and music. He performs in seedy downtown bars and on street corners, showcasing his talent for cash.

Q: How does Tom describe his beatboxing performance?

Tom claims to make all the sounds using just his voice, without any effects or equipment. He demonstrates his skills by beatboxing classic tunes like "Billie Jean".

Q: Where is Tom from and how does he describe his city?

Tom is from Brisbane, which he admits is not the cultural hub of the Southern Hemisphere. He explains that he has to travel outside of Brisbane and even outside of Australia to find more opportunities for his beatboxing career.

Q: How does Tom incorporate technology in his performances?

Tom uses Kaoss Pads, a type of equipment, to enhance his beatboxing performance. He can add reverb to his sound, mimic drum machines, sample his own sounds, and loop his voice to create a more layered and dynamic musical experience.

Q: What is the finale of Tom's performance?

Tom takes the audience on a journey to the Sydney Opera House, transforming it into a smoky downtown jazz bar. He introduces a double bassist and a jazz legend named Mr. Peeping Tom, creating a captivating jazz performance for music lovers and jazz enthusiasts in the audience.

Summary

In this TEDx talk, beatboxer Tom Thum shares his unique talent and how it has taken him on a journey around the world. He demonstrates his beatboxing skills using only his voice and showcases different sounds and effects he can create. Through his performance, he transports the audience to various locations and creates the atmosphere of a jazz bar.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Tom Thum describe what he does for money?

Tom Thum describes that he uses his mouth in strange ways in exchange for cash. He is a beatboxer and his talent lies in creating various sounds and beats using only his voice. He performs in seedy downtown bars and on street corners to earn money.

Q: Where does Tom Thum usually perform?

Tom Thum usually performs in seedy downtown bars and on street corners. These locations might not be the most appropriate settings, but they provide him with platforms to showcase his beatboxing skills and earn money.

Q: What kind of demonstration does Tom Thum want to give the audience?

Tom Thum wants to give the audience a demonstration of what he does as a beatboxer. He wants to showcase the range of sounds and beats he can create using only his voice. He believes that this demonstration will help the audience understand his talent better.

Q: How does Tom Thum describe his beatboxing performance?

Tom Thum describes his beatboxing performance as something that is made entirely using just his voice. He emphasizes that there are absolutely no effects applied to his microphone. He wants to highlight the authenticity of his live beatboxing.

Q: Where is Tom Thum from?

Tom Thum is from Brisbane, which he acknowledges is not exactly the cultural hub of the Southern Hemisphere. Although he loves his city, he often performs outside of Brisbane and Australia to explore different opportunities and markets for his beatboxing talent.

Q: How has pursuing his passion for beatboxing enabled Tom Thum to see amazing places?

Pursuing his passion for beatboxing has enabled Tom Thum to travel to numerous amazing places around the world. Since beatboxing is a niche market, he finds more opportunities to perform outside of his hometown. This has allowed him to explore different cities, countries, and continents.

Q: What kind of journey does Tom Thum want to take the audience on?

Tom Thum wants to take the audience on a journey throughout the continents and throughout the world of sound itself. Through his beatboxing, he plans to transport the audience to different locations and create the atmosphere of each place.

Q: What instruments does Tom Thum incorporate into his beatboxing?

Tom Thum incorporates various instruments into his beatboxing performance. He uses the didgeridoo to represent the central deserts, the sitar to represent India, and the guzheng to represent China. These instruments add depth and variety to his beatboxing.

Q: What special technology does Tom Thum bring from Brisbane?

Tom Thum brings Kaoss Pads, a form of musical technology, from Brisbane. These pads allow him to do different things with his voice and add effects to his beatboxing performance. For example, he can add reverb and mimic the effect of a drum machine.

Q: How does Tom Thum use the Kaoss Pads in his beatboxing performance?

Tom Thum uses the Kaoss Pads to add effects and enhance his beatboxing performance. He can manipulate his voice and create different sounds. With the pads, he can also sample his own sounds and play them back in real-time.

Takeaways

Tom Thum's TEDx talk highlights the power of human vocals and the artistry of beatboxing. Through his unique talent, he takes the audience on a journey around the world, showcasing different sounds, beats, and instruments. His performance demonstrates the creativity and versatility of beatboxing, leaving the audience in awe of what can be achieved with just the human voice.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Tom Thum is a beatboxer who uses his mouth to create various unique sounds and music.

  • He shares his experiences of performing internationally and how his passion has taken him to different places.

  • Tom demonstrates the use of Kaoss Pads, which enhance his sound and allow him to create different effects during his performances.

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