TAFTO 2008 Contribution: Charles T. Downey

Half of my job as a teacher is simply to put young ears and eyes in contact with classical music and art. In my experience, if you can do that with a modicum of knowledge and enthusiasm about the subject and then just get out of the way, the aesthetic experience does the work of conversion in most cases. Although the background can be handled in a classroom or in a conversation with a friend, the real magic has to happen live, with the visual sparkle of paint on canvas or the crackle of musicians in unified attack in the concert hall.