Desmond Sheehan

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 became the first UCI alum to enter UC Berkeley’s doctoral program for music, and earned a master's degree ('16) and Ph.D. ('21) studying music history in the 18th and 19th centuries. Desmond remains an active scholar, with research published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, and several articles currently under review. His research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

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

After teaching Berkeley undergraduates for four years as a Graduate Student Instructor, Desmond began teaching at Terra Arts in 2021-22, when he taught Medieval Games and Sports for grades 1-6. Last year, he taught Reading and Creative Writing through a wide range of literary multimedia – including graphic novels, improvisational theatre, songs, and public speeches. This year at Terra, Desmond co-directs the musical theater program, teaches early modern history and literature for jr. high, and leads a studio class on musical performance. He is particularly excited to offer his expertise in music and early modern cultures to youth in a creative, project-driven environment.