Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is an outstanding American composer and has been honored with numerous prizes and other major achievements in her 70-some years. Although entering what was ostensibly a man's world, she succeeded because of her technical prowess and artistic substance, at the same time that her music is widely appealing. Through interview, she discusses her early experiences in school and how they formed her attitudes and understanding of music and life in general. She now shares with music educators her views that come from these early experiences and how students' lives can be enhanced through music. Her professional life reinforced these first experiences and opened up new worlds that are available to all students if given freedom to explore and develop their imaginations. The interviewer's commentary follows by expanding the previous discussion into areas germane to music education in the schools, the primary points being that 1) the emphasis needs to be on learning rather than teaching, and 2) a holistic approach is imperative if students are to fully develop their potential.