Teaching Philosophy

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” These familiar words by the great American historian Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), speak well of the special opportunity afforded those of us who make our living in scholarly professions.

I have spent many years involved in activities that were immensely diverse and consistently arduous. Collectively, those activities constituted a journey directed toward the singularly gratifying position I now hold, a position that allows me to function as a teacher, scholar, and celebrant of musical art. Through the wisdom of Adams’ statement, I aspire to serve my students as my teachers and mentors served and guided me.

My professional philosophies, pedagogical and scholarly, are centered on my belief in a fully symbiotic relationship among research, pedagogy and performance. I integrate these disciplines into the various courses I teach as a college professor, as well as into my mission to educate and advise the general population on the importance of music education. The curriculum I employ in music appreciation/history provides a valuable opportunity for me to help students understand that the study of music history and music theory is yet another branch of applied music making. Thus, it is critical to understand why it is important for performers and educators, as well as historians, to cultivate their historical awareness and develop theoretical skills.

I also enjoy teaching courses for students with majors other than music, especially the intercultural conceived course Appreciation of the Humanities. I believe that intellectual fecundity – and with it, the energy, passion, and immediacy that are important to the optimally effective delivery of all courses – depends on our engaging regularly in higher-level discourses about the scholarly inquiries and pedagogical philosophies of all disciplines in the humanities.

There is also another vital idea that I seek to convey: the notion that scholarship and pedagogy are not simply about acquiring information, knowledge, and understanding; they are about exploring and discovering. Not only should we add, in our musical and scholarly journeys, to that body of knowledge and understanding, but we also all share a profound obligation to celebrate what we know and believe. We must consider the importance of the journey itself.

Lastly, I would emphasize one aspect of the persona I hope to continually develop in my professional life; that is fundamentally becoming a functioning part of various teams represented. One necessary (and gratifying) corollary of this central philosophical tenet is a firm belief in the importance of creating a community of musicians and scholars, rather than effectively segregated camps of persons of various interests. The importance of working together with colleagues by collaborating with them on committees and in projects is the foundation on which thriving schools exist. - Andrew Daniel

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Dr. Andrew Daniel