Teaching music is not simply teaching students the history of a few famous Europeans and exposing them to the great classic works of the masters. It is not simply teaching formulas for writing major and minor scales, analyzing 7th chords, and practicing ear training. Teaching music is a powerful vehicle for teaching the recognition of beauty in the world in which we live. Teaching music is a vocation and a gift, a creative art form and a craft that I truly love. Trying to reach each of my music 101 students is a career choice and privilege that I value and treasure. The lessons that students learn may not seem practical to them now but I believe they are lessons that teach them to examine values, to be aware of and in search of beauty. Teaching music gives students something that they can cling to long after youth passes and something that can be explored and appreciated for a lifetime.
In ten or twenty years many students will forget our names and the course content that we considered so critical to their education. But they will remember how listening to a live symphony orchestra concert made them feel and hopefully they will recall how the arts help to make the world a better place. After all what is the end goal of a formal education? In my opinion it is not to become sharper, wittier, or highly able people. The end goal is not having credentials to fill a resume or a job application. I believe the end goal of education is to become citizens of the world that are equipped to live a full rich life. Through and because of formal education, I hope that we become better people. I hope that we become people who care, who are compassionate, who make good choices, and who make the world a better, safer, and more beautiful place for our fellow world citizens and for generations that follow.