Pratt Bennet

Assistant Professor

"My teaching style is like an ecstatic octopus. I am reaching in as many different directions as I can all the time because I just can't reach everyone with one technique—or two or three. I've got to have five, six, and seven different ways of getting a message across, and I also have to have a lot of different mechanisms for assessing students."

"One of the reasons it's so easy for me to come to work every day is that I see people surprise themselves on such a frequent basis about what they're capable of learning, discovering, doing, and intuiting—way beyond music. I'm happy to connect to music, but one of the things I'm constantly pointing out to my students is that great music often does not come from music. Music comes from life; it comes from books; it comes from love; it comes from disappointment, politics, and history. For my students to limit their intellectual and emotional involvement to music is to close themselves off to a huge world of rich experiences that can inform them as musicians and, more importantly to me, as humans."

"I can bring to students a long life of experience of rejection and failure and success as completely interconnected pieces of a puzzle to show them that everything they're doing—conversations they're having with their friends, experiences they're having on break, meals they're having with people, strangers they meet—can inform their creativity."

"My rule of thumb is very simple: whatever you're working on, make it valuable today. Make it count today. When you are receptive to what's happening in the moment, you relax so much more about the outcome and, in my experience, you often get a better result."

 

 

Career Highlights

 

  • B.A., Yale University
  • Art studies at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts
  • Teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL), Educational Learning Services
  • Former ESL teacher at Manex International
  • Environmental artist/sculptor