Desmond Sheehan, PHD

In by Esther Yardley


Desmond Sheehan, PhD

Homeschooled throughout primary school, Desmond attributes much of his later success in education to those foundational years studying with his parents. Desmond majored in piano performance at UC Irvine with a minor in philosophy (B.Mus. ’14), and earned a Rawlins Scholarship for artistic excellence. He then became the first UCI alum to enter UC Berkeley’s doctoral program for music history, and earned a master’s degree (M.A. ’16) and Ph.D. (’21) studying European art music during the 18th-19th centuries. Desmond is an active scholar, with articles under review for academic journals, and several reviews and articles published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. He is currently writing an academic book about music, media, and secularism.

Desmond is as passionate about artistic performance and scholarship as he is about educating youth in creative and inspiring ways. His teaching philosophy is that a student’s self-confidence in the classroom promotes curiosity and creativity, which, in turn, produce disciplined, self-motivated learning.

Having taught for four years as a Graduate Student Instructor to undergraduates at Cal, Desmond began teaching at Terra Arts in 2021-22, when he taught Medieval Games and Sports for grades 1-6. This year, he is excited to teach Reading and Creative Writing on Thinker Days, with a more playful counterpart on Doer Days – Book Club and Language Games. With these classes he aims to instill the virtues and pleasures of storytelling across a wide range of literary multimedia – graphic novels, improvisational theatre, screenplays, photo-journalism, songs, public speeches, book-making, et. al.