School of Thought Podcast

Episode 04 Shortcuts - John Burdett

February 18, 2018

Dr. John Burdett is the Director of Instrumental Studies, Director of Bands, and Director of Graduate Music Education at Azusa Pacific University. John has many responsibilities as a result of these positions, including running the Instrumental Studies program, leading the band division, and teaching graduate student courses. He is also currently the director of the Wind Ensemble.

John Burdett is also a bit of a guru. He and Matt have been friends for many years, a friendship that is displayed throughout the conversation. In this interview Matt shares some of the "Burdett quotes" that have given him meaning and direction in his life. We hope you benefit from some guru time this week!

The conversation with John Burdett was philosophical and introspective. Burdett surprised us with the depth at which he has reflected on some of the questions we asked him. He speaks less as a music educator and more as someone concerned with the nature of education as a whole. He is curious about what it means to teach, how people learn, and the purpose of education in peoples' lives.

John shared his thoughts about overcoming the "Conservatory Mindset," the idea that the purpose of music education is to become good at your instrument. Burdett learned early in his career that his musical talent did not make him an effective teacher. Burdett also shared his insight that he was able to reach more students earlier in his career when he was less preoccupied with curriculum and more concerned with connection.

John mentions the book "Teaching Music with Passion" by Peter Boonshaft.

If you want to reach Dr. Burdett you can email him at

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