‘Covert’ Teaching Style Earns Accolades for Music Professor
John Sheridan, former trucker-turned-jazz guitarist-turned professor, brings lighthearted fun to classroom learning.
It’s not often you’ll find a ponytailed music professor dancing “Gangnam Style” before class, then later instructing his students to create cacophonous electronic “noise” instead of their idea of music.
But you might find John Sheridan doing just that to loosen up students before an audio production class, or to unlock their creative potential in a music technology class.
“When I was growing up, my parents always taught me that learning is fun. It was never a hard thing; it was never something to be afraid of,” said the Langhorne resident and associate professor. “I try to teach my students that – that learning doesn’t have to be a painful thing.”
Using such “covert” approaches to teaching and learning is one reason why the long-time Bucks County Community College professor added the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching to his list of accolades. Sheridan – who has also been included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2000), Who's Who in America (2004), and Who’s Who in the World (2006) – has been teaching at Bucks for nearly two decades.
The 1985 Bucks alumnus described his teaching style as relaxed and approachable.
“A student should be excited by learning, and that learning should be a vehicle for exploration upon which discovery can occur,” he added. “Teaching, learning, and discovery happen beyond the classroom walls as students are encouraged to become more involved in the world.”
Sheridan, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple University and his master’s degree from New York University, has been playing music since he was seven years old, and got his first paying gig when he was only 12. He’s been teaching guitar for more than 30 years.
The former truck driver teaches multiple disciplines in the Department of the Arts: music, multimedia, and audio production. Courses include Music Theory I and II, Music Technology, Audio Production, Multimedia Concepts I and II, and Jazz Guitar. To contact Professor Sheridan, call 215-968-8126 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.