Creation, interpretation, and appreciation of art and beauty were commonly taught in an area of philosophy called aesthetics, the sensory response to objects or phenomena in music, theatre, literature, and the visual arts. This was not the case in New College where the approach was based on the recognition of two elements, the tool element and the understanding element. In a common aesthetics class, the works would be examined and “understood” by the professor and the students. The progressive aspect of the curriculum demanded that the true understanding fostered by the New College student should be borne from “first hand” experiences. A student can look at a great work of art or hear a complex musical composition and appreciate the beauty, but if he has either taken the paintbrush in his hands, acted in a play, and sang or played a musical instrument his admiration and approval would reach a new level. The tool element included creation, interpretation and appreciation. The student should have the ability to handle elements in the different disciplines such as how to handle paint, brush, pencil or clay in visual arts and areas of composition in music and literature. This would be in combination with the history, form, and social implications that created great works of art. The understanding element explored larger questions such as the function of art as the synthesis of life experiences and representational of the human spirit.