Learning was the central foundation of Bernstein’s life.  The following are his thoughts regarding education…

Speaking about Mahler, this quote basically unintentionally sums up Socrates’ speech in the Symposium about immortality and education…

“..as each of us grows up, the mark of our maturity is that we accept our mortality; and yet we persist in our search for immortality. We may believe it’s all transient, even that it’s all over; yet we believe a future. We believe. We emerge from a cinema after three hours of the most abject degeneracy in a film such as La Dolce Vita, and we emerge on wings, from the sheer creativity of it; we can fly on, to a future. And the same is true after witnessing the hopelessness of Godot in the theater, or after the aggressive violence of The Rite of Spring in the concert hall. Or even after listening to the bittersweet young cynicism of an album called “Revolver,” we have wings to fly on. We have to believe in that kind of creativity. I know I do….There must be something in us, and in me, that makes me want to continue; and to teach is to believe in continuing.”  (The Unanswered Question pg. 317)

“When I teach I ask a lot of questions of my students and I like very much to learn from them.” (The Infinite Variety of Music pg. 266)

“I think that perhaps the greatest gift my father bestowed on us children was to teach us to love learning.” (Findings pg. 174)

Testimony before the house subcommittee on a bill calling for a White House conference on the Arts: “I believe that this urgent need to take hold of and develop the innate curiosity and immense learning capacity which all children share must take precedence over all other considerations.” (Findings pg. 331)

“I propose that the reading and understanding of music be taught to our children from the very beginning of their school life; that they learn to participate with enthusiasm in the study of music from kindergarten through high school. No child is tone-deaf; every child has the natural ability and desire to assimilate musical ideas and comprehend their combinations into musical forms. Every child can be taught to read music as he or she is taught to read words; and there is no reason why both kinds of reading cannot be taught simultaneously.” (Findings pg. 334)

In a letter to his mentor Serge Koussevitsky, “No matter how much times elapses without seeing you, you are always with me, guiding my work, providing the standards by which I measure my progress in our art.” (Leonard Bernstein Letters, pg. 127)

Leonard Bernstein devoted an entire Young People’s Concert to “A Tribute to Teachers”

Leonard Bernstein documentary Teachers and Teaching