Mr. Ross Cawthon is in his fourth year of teaching at Deland High School, serving as the Associate Director of Choir and Band. Mr. Cawthon attended the University of Florida, where he sang in various ensembles, and played trumpet in the bands and orchestra. He was a past President of the Eta Omega Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In addition to teaching chorus and marching band, Mr. Cawthon teaches International Baccalaureate Music, and Advanced Placement Music Theory. Mr. Cawthon is also the Music Director at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Lake Helen.
“Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money. That’s a mistake…The secret to performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home-is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”—Daniel Pink, in Drive.
I believe, as Daniel Pink expresses in his book Drive, that there is an innate need for humans to create and to have the freedom to self-direct the creation process. As art educators we play a very important role in facilitating the creative spark (that we all have albeit often deeply hidden) to manifest itself-enabling the individual’s need for expression to be communicated aesthetically to the world-whether in visual art, dance, drama, or music.
As Pink demonstrates in his earlier book, A Whole New Mind (Why Right Brained People will Rule the World) the aesthetics of life (art) are not just a pleasing way to pass time but are essential in today’s world to distinguish ones products from that of one’s competition. “Art for Art’s sake” is still very much alive and well but anyone can greatly improve their influence and overall success in life if the arts are not just included but completely integrated into the structure of their lives; or the life of an organization. Art is not an afterthought but at the core of those who are highly successful in our modern world. It’s an honor and a privilege to play our part in that process as art educators. My hope is that our students are better enabled to participate in the modern world and that it is a better place for others after having learned the lessons taught through art.