I arrived at the JA Conference and attended the Board of Directors dinner on Friday evening, July 8th where I caught up with old friends David Shuey, Chair of the Board and Dr. John Klippel, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. Dr. Klippel was surprised to learn that I was an avid baseball fan. And, of course coming from Pittsburgh, the Pirates are my favorite team.
I attended my first Juvenile Arthritis Conference last weekend in Washington, DC. What amazed me more than anything were the children that I met and spoke to. I was especially surprised to see some of them running and jumping much like any other child you’d see. Watching all these children, it was hard to believe any of them had any form of arthritis. In speaking with someone from the conference, I mentioned that, and she said that just 15 years ago it was a different story. Most of the children were in wheel chairs, but with the advent of biologic drugs, taken at an early age, these children now were either in remission or their symptoms were seriously curtailed.
Last month I was so inspired when I heard with what courage and grace President Jimmy Carter handled his diagnosis of serious cancer – and then, in spite of that, he went to teach his usual Sunday School classes. I was reminded of a marvelous and important event at the White House in 1980 when he inaugurated the Department of Education and celebrated that with a Tribute to Teachers in a “Salute to Learning Day.” I was so happy to be a part of honoring the two vital teachers in my life, Adele Marcus and Vladimir Horowitz. Six of us gave an homage to those most special people in our lives – our teachers, and we were fortunate to have wonderful ones. The profession is not given enough recognition for the responsibility it has in shaping our lives – at times even more than our parents. Good teachers are not always easy to find but if you are passionate about what you want to do, keep looking. I would like to share with you the poem that was on the back of the White House invitation:
A Tribute to an Honorable Teacher Don’t name him Teacher, say, or Speaker Unless you probe the meaning of the Word. Names mill and choke us like a restless Herd. Conceal Old Truths and Values from the Seeker. And often Pretense, Posture are preferr’d. Numbered Nothing is computed and promoted. While Truth is fear’d and Beauty goes unnoted. Remember Passerby, his Trade was Man, Owning himself like Jim, born free like Huck, Born with an Essence bigger than his Luck. Inspired by Giants when they were in the Land, Nourishing minds till Wisdom makes them Whole – So is the Man! Behold his Master Soul, Older than Time, Young as the break of day! No busy world can take his Gift away. Tom Sutherland
President Carter continues to teach us every day by the way he chooses to live his life with all his zest possible and his faith in the larger plan for all of us.
I’m very saddened by the death this week of Apollo 14’s Captain Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, pioneer, visionary. He was a friend whose revolutionary life did not stop when he returned to Earth after walking on the Moon. He was a man who did not feel that he had no more worlds to conquer.
My favorite quote is one from Chopin, “Bach is like an astronomer who, with the help of ciphers, finds the most wonderful stars. Beethoven infuses the universe with the power of his spirit. I do not climb so high. A long time ago, I decided my universe would be the soul and heart of man.”
The fight against Bigotry and Prejudice is a never ending battle. Each of us must do our part in hoping to enlighten darkened consciences. Today I applaud Bruce Springsteen . He canceled his upcoming North Carolina concert in protest of the states gender biased ” bathroom laws”! Back in March 1965 when I was scheduled to play a concert in Mobile, Alabama.Then the horrendous events of Bloody Sunday happened in Selma, with police attacking and turning their dogs on Martin Luther Kings peaceful marchers.
August 29th, 2016
In arts education, students must be taught to create, not imitate.
All musicians, even the most gifted ones, need instruction—there are no virgin births, at least not in the modern era. Instruction is the driving force behind any God-given talent’s success.
But teaching is about more than simply telling a student what to do and not do. It is surely one of the most demanding as well as important vocations of all. Parent, instructor, friend, diagnostician—these are some of the things a great teacher must be.
As Russia has been so prominent in the news of late, I thought I would tell you an amusing story that happened to me and my ex-wife, June, in what was then the Soviet Union.