What Classical Music Can Teach About Quality Instruction

I enjoy music. Most people do, of course.  Depending on our mood or purpose for listening, we enjoy different music styles at different times. When I run, I usually like up-beat fast paced music that will energize or inspire me. I look for songs with motivational lyrics or songs with a great beat. (Or songs from the Rocky movies.)  Other times, other music will suffice.  Sometimes a little Sinatra goes a long way as I complete some of my daily routines.

Over the past few years, I have found that listening to classical music also provides me with a certain peace and tranquility. I have found that the more I listen to classical music, the more I enjoy it.

For much of my life, I tried to enjoy classical music, but a few things got in the way.

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It Can’t Be Done

These might be old stories, but they are all worth repeating because they speak to a common theme.

(For added enjoyment, follow the hyperlinks embedded in this post.)

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The year was 1954.  In athletics there was a sense that a human could not physically run faster than a four minute mile.  “It’s impossible,” many said.  Athlete after athlete trained and tried – and all fell short.  The four minute mile seemed to be an impassible barrier.

And then, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister did it.  Bannister ran a sub-four minute mile!  He did something no human being had ever done before.  The impossible had occurred – like catching lightning in a bottle.  Many thought that Bannister’s feat was fluke, a one-in-a-million occurrence.

Six weeks later, an Australian, John Landy, bested Roger Bannister’s time.

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Just Start Writing

Recently I ran into one of my biggest fears. The week was drawing to a close and I did not have any thoughts or new material for a weekly passage that I write for teachers. (Those weekly passages helped give birth to this blog.)

I am a believer in a theory I termed, “Just Start Writing.”  I find that when I start to put words to the page, my creative juices start to flow, the blank page disappears, and a passage (at least in rough draft form) is completed.

What follows is a reflection that I originally wrote for teachers, but I believe the bigger message can be applied for all.

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Hiroshima, Japan – July 5, 2012

About four years ago, I embarked on a two-week educator’s tour of Japan.  It was an amazing experience.  I was fortunate to be able to bring my eighteen year old son who would be heading off to college on this trip with me.  I treasure those moments that we experienced together.

Each day in Japan was filled with wonder .  Each day provided an opportunity to learn and grow.  The trip left an indelible imprint upon my soul.  It was special in so many ways.

I hope to someday have the opportunity to experience Japan again.

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Success or Failure?

I’m training for a marathon.  This will be my 20th marathon.  I’m excited and eager to get to the line and run this race.  I think it will be my best race in a long time.

There’s only one problem.

The race is 34 weeks away.

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