Imagine Education Lives in the Music Profession | Benjamin Freud | 3 Min Read

This article won 2nd prize in the Intrepid Ed News Summer Writing Contest. The writing prompt was: “I think my profession needs…”  Congratulations to Benjamin Freud!

I think my profession needs to move away from the role of singer-songwriter and more toward orchestra conductor. Singer-songwriters control every aspect of the performance, from the creative process that takes place in composing pieces to the setlist, which instruments to bring onstage, the rhythm, lyrics, and even the chatter with the audience in between songs. What they don’t control is how the audience will react. Orchestra conductors don’t play instruments (at least not while they’re conducting); they point to different instrument sections, individual artists, and manage the overall emotional feel of the piece played through pace, intensity, and timing. Instruments come together at the right time to create a musical experience.

Now the picture I am painting is not the one where the teacher is the conductor and each student is a unique instrument that will blossom in its own way. That’s great too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not what I mean.

In my analogy, the teacher is the conductor, each instrument is a member of the community, each instrument…

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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of the most prestigious and high-profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice-Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin's outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.