"I try to help students develop their ears, connect with traditions, and recognize their own potential for innovation. I also want my students to gain an appreciation of the 'sonorous image' (Copland's term). Even though we're talking about theory and practice, the actual presence of the music—being in a room and hearing the sound being made—is something to behold. It's like looking at a work of art."
"When you hear a beautiful harmony, it's almost as profound a feeling as you can have. So I remind my students that if they really get a command of the theory, they can do things that will transform the way people feel and think. So it's worth investing one's spirit completely in music."
"Getting to know my talented students and their music is a great source of happiness for me. They all have talents; some are undeveloped, but they have potential. I'm excited when a student comes up with something fantastic, but it's also very satisfying when I perceive a potential they've gotten close to. If the music hasn't quite fulfilled its mission, and I can help them understand the process of turning the piece into something higher, that's a gratifying experience."
"When I ask students to create a piece of music, I tell them they have to be careful to preserve their own personal enthusiasm and not just fulfill my assignment. I want my students to know that, by sharing the things that really matter to them musically, it really gives their teachers happiness. I think it's important for them to realize that they're giving a gift to us, too. We may be giving them these torturous exercises [laughing] that turn into volumes of music, but the reality is, they're giving us something great back. I respect that."
"I also remind my students that a lot of the great music came from times of repose, as well as strife, for the composer. So I ask, how many of you have been down to the Charles River just to look at the water and relax? They have to be ready to refresh their own spirit."