Thursday, October 16, 2014


I used to enjoy teaching music appreciation classes at our local community college. In the early years of the 21st century I had students in my classes who were genuinely interested in the material. Some were adult students who had returned to college after having children, some were adult students who were trying to make a new start by getting an education after unproductive early adulthood, and some were students who had served in the military. I had extremely smart students of normal college age who were using community college as an inexpensive way of taking courses that could be transferred to a four-year university. I also had students who had very little in the way of reading and writing skills, because the college had an open admissions policy. Some of these students found that they were genuinely interested in music (some, of course, were not). I even had a composer one semester, and I had to keep him stimulated while trying to get novices to understand the rudiments of listening to form in music.

During the past five years we have been suffering from some kind of a shift in our university community, and for various reasons college enrollment is down. I watched the abilities of my students slide downward, and found that very few students were able to get by with more than a passing grade during the last two semesters. Too many of them couldn't pass. Now most of the music appreciation classes have been cancelled, and mine, which met at 8:00 in the morning, was one of the first to go.

For a while I really didn't know what I would do.

Thanks to the kindness of one of my dear friends, and the departure from town by another friend who taught a handful of violinists, I now have eight new violin students who range in age from 9 to 14. It's been years since I worked with this many young people, and it is really refreshing to teach people who want to learn to play just for the sake of playing.

Everyone seems to be making progress, and I am making progress as well, because I make a point of practicing what I teach.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another example of doors closing and windows opening. I'm sorry for the loss of your music appreciation class, but how wonderful that you still have the opportunity to inspire young musicians!