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The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning

8/1/16 to 8/3/16

Tuition: $1,450 per person

We encourage early applications due to the great interest in the program. Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis.

Presented in collaboration with Silkroad.

What does it mean to be a passion-driven learner?

What You Will Learn

Arts and Passion

“We’re trying to help students develop the tools that will make them eager, rather than fearful, to meet the world they don’t know.” — Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Founder and Artistic Director

The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute, presented in collaboration with Silkroad, is an exploration of the vital role passion plays in learning — and the unique capacity of the arts to inspire passion-driven learning and meaningful connections.

Program Overview

As educators, we need tools to connect students' passions, and our own, to meaningful learning for the 21st century. The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute examines how educators can use the arts to engage students across all subjects — not only in the arts.

Passion-Driven LearningThe institute begins with a conversation between world-renowned cellist and Silkroad Founder and Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma and Steve Seidel, Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Lecturer on Arts in Education and director of the Arts in Education Program at HGSE, and continues with a rousing performance by the Silk Road Ensemble.

Then, over the course of the program, Harvard faculty and Silk Road Ensemble members will present sessions designed to challenge participants to consider the role of passion in teaching and learning. Participants will explore how to create powerful learning experiences that use the arts to connect students with their own communities and other cultures.

Join this growing community of educators and artists from around the world who congregate once a year to explore how the arts can inspire the kind of teaching that transforms requirements into passion-driven learning. 

Related News

Harvard EdCast: Finding Passion in Learning
Projects That Soar
Silkroad Youtube Channel
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma: Live from Tanglewood
Upcoming Silkroad Events

Program Objectives

The program will help you reflect on the following themes:

  • Curiosity: Connecting passion and curiosity, and cultivating both in students.
  • Visibility: Seeing passion in learners and their work.
  • Inspiration: Identifying ways passion is sparked in learners.
  • Community: Considering how teachers and artists continue to inspire and sustain their work over the long haul.
Who Should Attend
  • Classroom teachers, arts specialists, school administrators and artists who teach
  • Teams of teachers/artists and administrators from the same school, district or organization
  • Teaching artists in youth development programs and after school programs

Fluency in English is mandatory.

English Language Requirements

Silkroad Founder and Artistic Director

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras worldwide and his recital and chamber music activities. His discography includes over 90 albums, including 18 Grammy-award winners.

Ma serves as the artistic director of Silkroad, an organization he founded to promote cross-cultural performance and collaborations at the edge where education, business, and the arts come together to transform the world. More than 80 works have been commissioned specifically for the Silk Road Ensemble, which tours annually. Ma also serves as the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute. His work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.

Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents who later moved the family to New York. He began to study cello at the age of four, attended the Juilliard School, and in 1976 graduated from Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, among them the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of Arts (2001), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010). In 2011, Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree. Most recently, Ma has joined the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees. He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony. 


Faculty Chair

Steve Seidel is the Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Lecturer on Arts in Education and Director of the Arts in Education Master’s Program at HGSE. He has worked in the areas of arts and education since 1971. With more than 15 years teaching in high schools, he joined Project Zero in 1986, working since then on projects in arts education, alternative assessment, project-based curriculum and school reform. He was lead principal investigator on The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education. Seidel currently leads the Talking with Artists Who Teach study and is an International Research Fellow at the Tate Museums in London.


Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass, enjoys a varied musical career as an energetic performer and educator. As a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, he has performed in Azerbaijan, Israel, Malaysia, Japan, and India, and participated as a mentor in the Weill Institute Professional Training Workshops at Carnegie Hall. Principal bass player with the Toronto Symphony, he has also performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at the Bridgehampton, Salt Bay, and Marlboro festivals. He recently composed and produced music for an internationally broadcast television show, Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe. Beecher serves on the faculties of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto.

Ron Berger is chief program officer for the nonprofit school improvement network Expeditionary Learning, helping to found public high schools in low-income communities that send all graduates to college, and transform existing public schools toward high student achievement, character, and citizenship. Berger’s writing and speaking center on inspiring quality and character in students, specifically through project-based learning, original scientific and historical research, service learning, and the infusion of arts. He works with the national character education movement to embed character values into the core of academic work. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Berger co-teaches a course with Steve Seidel focused on models of quality. He is an Annenberg Foundation Teacher Scholar, and received the Autodesk Foundation National Teacher of the Year award.

Tina Blythe is a teacher, administrator, researcher, consultant, and writer. She serves as education adviser for the Silk Road Project. She teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Boston Architectural College, where she is also the director of faculty development.  For 16 years, she was a researcher at Harvard Project Zero, where she developed and studied approaches to supporting deep learning, thinking, and understanding for students as well as teachers. She consults for schools, districts, and organizations around the world on issues of curriculum, assessment, and professional development.  She began her career as a classroom teacher in urban public schools and continues to serve as a regular guest teacher at a Boston-area independent school

Mark Borchelt is associate professor at Utah Valley University. He joined the dance faculty of Utah Valley following his tenure as director of dance at the Interlochen Arts Academy. After a notable performing career, he taught on faculties at the University of Utah, Southern Methodist University, and Cornish College of the Arts. A distinguished pedagogue, consultant, and master teacher, Borchelt has taught and lectured internationally and at many summer dance workshops as well as presenting scholarly research on dance education. His choreography has been produced with acclaim in both professional and academic venues around the country. During the summer he is a faculty member for the Project Zero Classroom at Harvard University.

Sandeep Das is one of the world’s leading tabla virtuosos. A favorite disciple of the legendary tabla maestro Pandit Kishan Maharaj ji of the Benaras Ghanara, he has built a diverse international career, collaborating with a variety of genre-crossing artists. Sandeep is founder of HUM (Harmony and Universality through Music), an ensemble promoting global understanding through performance and education. He has composed for and performed internationally with the Silk Road Ensemble since the group’s founding in 2000, and is a Grammy-nominated recording artist in his own right. Sandeep is currently a member of the Silk Road Ensemble Leadership Council and has served as a teaching artist with Silk Road Connect schools in Boston and New York City.

Hadi Eldebek, oud player, performs Arabic music interpreted through a contemporary and multi-genre/multi-ethnic perspective. Hadi began his performance studies at the Lebanese National Conservatory before moving to New York to continue his studies with master oud and violin player Simon Shaheen. Hadi joined the New York Arabic Orchestra in 2007 and the Silk Road Ensemble in 2010; he joined the Brooklyn Philharmonic as a composer for the 2012–2013 Outside-In Fellowship. Hadi collaborated with playwright Heather Raffo on the score for her play 9 Parts of Desire and has performed with the production across the country. Hadi has served as a teaching artist with Silk Road Connect schools in New York City.

Todd Elkin is an artist and arts educator currently living in Oakland, California. He has an extensive visual art background including work as a professional fine-art printmaker and freelance illustrator. He is currently the Fine Arts department chair and a teacher at Washington High School in Fremont, California, where his specialty is designing and delivering student-driven, arts-focused interdisciplinary curriculum and fostering cultures of critical thinking and reflection. Promoting visual and media literacy are major goals in his work as well as encouraging students to see themselves as contemporary artists and global citizens taking part in conversations about important topics and issues. Elkin is on the core Faculty of The Integrated Learning Specialist Program offered through the Alameda County Office of Education. In addition, he has a consulting and speaking practice in which he designs and delivers professional development opportunities for educators nationwide.

Jenna Gampel is a master teacher at Conservatory Lab Charter School, where she has taught for the past five years. During her time at Conservatory Lab, she has developed highly successful expeditionary learning curriculum that integrates science, literacy, and the arts. Gampel is a frequent presenter at expeditionary learning conferences. Her work and classroom are featured in the expeditionary learning professional development video series,Inspiring Excellence: A Culture of Quality in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, in the Arts, and in Science. In 2014, Gampel was selected as one of five finalists for the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year award.  

Joseph Gramley, multi-percussionist and composer has performed internationally as a soloist and with major symphony orchestras. During more than a dozen years with the Silk Road Ensemble, he has collaborated with renowned musicians from India, Iran, China, Japan, Korea, and central Asia. Gramley was the first chair of the Silk Road Ensemble Leadership Council. He teaches at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan, and directs the Summer Percussion Seminar at the Juilliard School, where he did his graduate studies.

Shaw Pong Liu, violinist and composer, engages diverse communities with creative music and social dialogue by innovating the audience experience of live music. Currently City of Boston artist-in-residence, Shaw Pong is working with the Boston Police Department and community organizations to explore how music can support healing and dialogue around difficult topics of gun violence, racism, and police practices. Other recent projects include Water Graffiti for Peace, a series of outdoor Chinese water calligraphy sessions inviting public play and conversations about peace; A Bird a Day, exploring birdsong, sunrises and composition, and Soldiers’ Tales Untold, a musical-narrative production mixing veterans’ stories, live music, and audience dialogue about war. Shaw Pong has received commissions from A Far Cry and Lorelei Ensemble, and performs with groups including Silk Road Ensemble, MIT’s Gamelan GalakTika, Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Glynn MacDonald, the Globe Associate of Movement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. MacDonald trained in the Alexander Technique in 1972 and is past Chairman of The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). She has worked in the Actors Centre and the Field Day Theatre Company in Ireland, Dramaten in Stockholm, Norskspillersforbund in Norway, Holback Engstheatre in Denmark, and Bremen Opera Company in Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and the USA. Since 1997 she has been resident Director of Movement at Shakespeare’s Globe on all theatre productions, and has been a core member of the Globe Education faculty in their Acting and Training Programmes. She also works on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. MacDonald shared the Sam Wanamaker Award with Giles Block in 2011 for services to the Globe and in 2012 she was awarded the François Florent Prize in Paris.

Arzu Mistry is an educator, ecologist, visual artist, and dancer. Arzu maintains a high level of dedication and enthusiasm for the arts and ecology as mediums for pedagogy, advocacy, transformation, and intervention. Her practice centers on connecting educators, youth and families with place through interdisciplinary education using memory, story, play and art making through community art /ecology projects, livelihoods training, teacher professional development and educational research and practice. Arzu teaches at the Future of Learning and Arts and Passion Driven Learning Institutes at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has a BFA from the California College of the Arts, and Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Arzu is a Research Associate at the Center for Education Research Training and Development (CERTAD) and co-director of the Art in Transit Project at Srishti.

Cristina Pato is a Galician composer, pianist, and gaita virtuosa. She was the first female gaita player to release a solo album (1999) and has since collaborated on world stages with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O'Farril, World Symphony Orchestra, and Paquito D'Rivera. Pato is the founder and artistic director of Galician Connection, a world music forum celebrated annually in Galicia. She was a founding member of the Silk Road Ensemble’s Leadership Council and has served as a teaching artist with Silk Road Connect schools in New York City and beyond.

Carla Rinaldi is a world leader in education for children in the early years. She worked side-by-side with Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach, in the municipal infant toddler and preschool system of Reggio Emilia, Italy, where she was the first pedagogical coordinator. Rinaldi is president of Reggio Children, an international center for the defense and promotion of the rights and potentials of all children, and is the first president of the Reggio Children-Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation. She is also a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. 

Jessica Rose is a doctoral candidate in education leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She first started teaching as a junior in high school, when she taught creative writing to sixth- and seventh-graders, and subsequently attended Brown University to study education. While at Brown she worked for The Arts Literacy Project, which further solidified her belief that quality arts experiences should be an integral part of all schools. Rose taught middle and high school English, ethics, and arts for five years, mostly at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, where she also became the English department chair. At the Rhode Island Department of Education she developed educator evaluation and support models, and assisted districts in implementation through creating resources and leading training for school and district leaders across the state. She has wide-reaching interests in American preK–12 education, but is particularly passionate about cultivating quality, reflective, common sense, synergistic school systems that promote powerful teaching and learning.

Shane Shanahan is an American percussionist and composer. Shanahan has combined his studies of drumming traditions from around the world with jazz, rock, and Western art music. His interest in other cultures has led to extended visits to Turkey, India, Tajikistan, and beyond. Shanahan has performed with Philip Glass, Aretha Franklin, Alison Krauss, Chaka Khan, Deep Purple, Jordi Savall, Glen Velez, and Maya Beiser, among others. He is currently a member of the Silk Road Ensemble Leadership Council. He frequently hosts workshops and clinics at the world’s leading universities and museums, and serves as the lead teaching artist for the Silk Road Connect program at Edward Bleeker JHS 185, Queens, New York.

Kojiro Umezaki is a Japanese-Danish performer and composer. A renowned virtuoso of the shakuhachi, his work also encompasses traditional and technology-based music mediated by various forms of electronics. His recent commissioned works and producer credits include those for Brooklyn Rider, Joseph Gramley, Huun Huur Tu, and the Silk Road Ensemble. Ko is currently assistant professor of music at the University of California, Irvine, where he is a core faculty member of the Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) group. Ko has served as a Silk Road Connect teaching artist with schools in Montana and beyond.


Enrollment Instructions

The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning is an application program. To maximize the learning experience, the program aims to bring together as diverse a group as possible. Applicants are responsible for submitting supplemental materials with their online application.

You will need to finish each of the following steps to complete your application. The application should take 15–20 minutes if you have prepared all necessary information listed below and must be completed in a single session.

Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and institutional information.

Step Two
Describe your level of experience in supporting students in learning in and through the arts (e.g. number of units/projects or number of years) so that we can plan a program that engages participants at all levels. (maximum 300 words)

Step Three
(Optional: Please fill out this section only if you are planning to apply for financial aid)

In order to attract as diverse a group of participants as possible, financial aid is offered by Silkroad and the Harvard Graduate School of Education to support tuition fees and/or travel costs. Since support is limited and demand typically exceeds the available resources, we urge applicants to submit financial aid requests as early as possible and limit requests to the minimum amount necessary to attend the program.

Prepare a single PDF document addressing the following items. Please save files in the following format: LASTname_FIRSTname_APL2016

  1. Describe any circumstances that affect your school/district/organization's ability to support your participation. Also describe any efforts that have been undertaken to secure support from local foundations, agencies, community organizations, or other outside sources. (maximum 250 words)
  2. Please indicate the amount of financial aid requested for tuition support, the amount of financial aid requested for travel support and identify who will pay the balance of the fee.
Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. If funds are unable to be processed within these guidelines, a documented payment plan is to be sent via mail, e-mail, or fax, and received two weeks prior to the program start date.

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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