Nothing Without Joy

by Tiffany Richardson

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the Arts and Passion Driven Learning Institute at Harvard University.  Educators, administrators, musicians and artists from all around the world and many different career backgrounds came together to explore how the arts enhance education.  For three days we were urged to experience things as students, and to leave our roles as teacher and professional behind.  What a truly valuable experience to become a young learner again.

Steve Seidel, Director of the Arts in Education program at Harvard opened the session with a quote, “Nothing Without Joy”-Loris Malaguzzi.  He discussed in depth the value of engaging our students through passion, and how this transforms the learning process.  Cellist Yo-Yo Ma discussed the “edge effect,” whereby combining two different worlds we can create a “new ecosystem” for performance and education.  Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project gave an amazing performance, mixing musical styles and combining instruments and live art in a transformative way.

Over three days, the Silk Road Project and Institute staff lead us in workshops exploring different aspects of art integration, from teaching language arts through the use of music and movement, to how to create a collaborative relationship between a teaching artist and a classroom teacher.  It was an incredible opportunity to have time to be with like-minded people, who all share a goal greater than ourselves to better our communities and education through the arts.

I spend much of my time as a performer exploring ways to bring relevance to what we do as classical musicians, for children in an educational setting, but also for the community.  The institute was extremely inspiring and I became a part of a global community of people who truly value the impact the arts have on our culture, education and our world.   

My whole experience in Boston brought me back to, “Why Sound Impact?”  I’ve always believed that music tells a story, and should serve a greater purpose within a community, beyond that of entertainment.  I experienced Sound Impact in Boston…music and the arts bring people together, create an open-ness throughout a community, and serve as tools to learn and experience life in a more colorful way.


Silk Road Ensemble performance



Violist Tiffany Richardson


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