Finding Neverland

Back to School

One of the joys of living in a college town (besides having had a rewarding career at one of its colleges) is attending free events that range from sheer entertainment to intellectual challenges.

And, as I am finding out this fall, you can also go to class.  Not to doctoral seminars, or over-subscribed classes, but a polite request to a faculty member will usually get you a slot to audit a course if there is space.

That’s why Peter and I are spending two mornings a week with a bunch of undergraduates learning to appreciate five great classical musical pieces with the help of a gifted instructor.

We got to class early the first day, introduced ourselves to the professor and asked if we could sit in.  He graciously agreed and then told us that he loved auditors because they showed up on time (and haven’t just fallen out of bed, and raced to class with hair still wet from the shower).

And there’s another bonus.  Observing undergraduates is fun.  The first day there was a lot of “Hey, how was your summer?”  “Do you like your dorm set up?”  “What are you taking?”  Very different than our conversations with our peers.  And they have different distractions than we had in college.  There were a lot of open laptops.  Taking notes, or surfing the Web, I wondered?  The undergrad next to me thumbed his phone for a while, but after that he seemed engaged.

At Thursday’s class, things got serious.  Harder material.  Open laptops forbidden.  And a chance to experience music more deeply.

The class lasts 53 minutes.  I never look at my watch.



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