When I think of all the goals we set for our students, of all the hopes we have for our teaching, of all the things we want to linger as our influence on them for the rest of their lives, the list is enormous, virtually innumerable and beyond measure. But for me, the pinnacle of that list, the goal of all goals, was best stated by the remarkable Igor Stravinsky when he wrote, “The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead.” Those profound words guide me every day. Yes, I want students to understand music, to be curious about music, to be literate, technically able and capable of expressing themselves through music. But I truly believe that the first step, as Stravinsky so aptly proclaimed is to get them to fall in love with music. From there, I believe every goal and any hope is truly possible. So maybe our students would be best served if our highest priority in a class or rehearsal is to help them fall ever-more deeply in love with the art we so cherish.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”