Fall Semester Check-Up

As I am now at the end of my third week of school, I thought you all would be interested in knowing how it is going. (Say that ten times fast.)

Here is a class-by-class breakdown:

Music History This class is being taught by the wife of the new Arts and Sciences Dean, and she is wonderful. She has spent the past however-many-years working in Italy. She is a musicologist. I love going to this class. I usually arrive first and we exchange a few pleasantries and chat about the day. Then as students start to arrive she begins to engage them as well. She is extremely prompt, starts at 9am no matter if there is one student or all six are present (which is a rare occurrence apparently). She has so much life-experience, she has traveled to or lived in Italy, Germany, France, Istanbul, Turkey, and who knows where else. She always has the most enrapturing stories. She tells them in a quiet but energetic voice, forcing her students to strain to listen, which in turn forces students to really focus on and capture what she is saying. She is adorable–she was dismayed one day when she couldn’t get the cd player to work in the ‘smart’ classroom, she was incredibly overjoyed and awed that the two Emilie(y)s have completely different singing voices but are so close, and she very seriously questioned multiple music students in order to figure out the complicated schedule for Convocation. Today she spent fifteen minutes regaling us with a tale about a star classical Arabic dancer she was privileged enough to watch at a club in Hollywood. I won’t tell you any of the story because you need to see her eyes come alive while she tells the stories and hear the different intonations and accents. I didn’t realize this at first, but she is a born storyteller. I love the passion she has for these subjects, I love her wit, and I love this class.

Intro to Cultural Anthropology It’s a good thing this is not my first class of the day. When I first signed up I was extremely excited to be taking anthropology, but unfortunately the class is not living up to my expectations. We begin each class period with some sort of brain-squashingly awful youtube video (like a rap about chimpanzees, or an evolution song set to Britney Spear’s Toxic). Then we answer questions on 3×5 cards, and generally “discuss” the reading or take notes from a powerpoint. Discuss is in quotes because it usually goes something like this:

Teacher: Now, in your reading, Mr. Anthropologist said this. Do you have any questions?

Class: (not even a cricket is heard chirping)

Teacher: Come on, somebody? Should I play the video again?

Student A: Well I was wondering what the meaning of this random word is that does not pertain to the class or the reading in any way.

Teacher: Wow, what a great question. (Then either one of two things happens. 1–TEACHER spends half an hour not answering question or 2–TEACHER wisely finds some way to restate the question as a statement, pretending to answer it, sneaking in some horrid joke or line about her children, and leaves STUDENT A so baffled thet STUDENT A thinks that his or her question has been answered.) Now, who wants to go over this basic concept that we’ve been studying for a week again? (Not waiting for a response, determined to be cheerful) Ok, let’s go!

In the first three weeks of class we have covered one chapter in the textbook. She teaches us like we are middle schoolers and then thinks we are not grasping concepts when we are simply being jaded upperclassmen (mostly) and refusing to play her little ice breaker games. I constantly feel the mad desire to yell or set fire to something, and my behavior has become more and more appalling. At the beginning of the semester I tried to care, then I pretended to try to care. Then I got so disgusted at the class that I moved my seat, allied myself with the other students who clearly don’t care about the class, and we sit in the back making fun of it while probably still absorbing more than most of the students in the class.

Choir As usual, I love this class. I sometimes wonder if half of the students aren’t actually making any noise when they move their mouths, but other than that I just sing my part and have a grand old time.

Literature and Diction (for Singers) This class is also usually fun. So far we have been learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (or IPA). The first few weeks of class were about five students (ages twenties to thirties) just making all the different vowel and consonant sounds. We looked ridiculous. We are doing English first (this class is doubling as an ESL class for a couple of international students) and then we will be doing basic Italian. We learn various sound rules, and then write papers and are judged on our pronunciations while singing songs in English and Italian.

Advanced Choir w/Br. A. This class is….well…I am enjoying it mostly because I am allowed to be ridiculously sassy and bratty in class and the teacher just eats it up. The music we are doing is pretty, and we are also doing some chanting because we are going to be leading a prayer service once a month after mass (that was a surprise to us). We shall see how this goes.

Lessons Are all going quite swimmingly. I am taking voice, flute, and piano, and all I have to say is that this is going to be an amazing year! I am in love with Donaudy, and with the Sea Pictures song cycle by Elgar, and  I should be having a voice recital sometime this semester.

CSC 160 Intro to computers is also mind-numbing. It is required for graduation however. So far we have been formatting memos in WORD. Hopefully Excel and Access will be slightly better. Br. V is in my class so we can joke about it together, but there are moments when even his jocularity cannot save the day. (Although, as evidenced from our last assignment, I am far the wittier of the two of us.)

PickleBall I almost forgot I was enrolled in this class. In fact, I’m fairly certain that that is not how you spell the sport, and I don’t even know what the sport entails, but all I know is that I refuse to participate. I am doing a sort of independent study where I just turn in my exercise log from the gym, instead of going to PE.

Other lovely tidbits and facts about the school year:

-Grease is going to be a blast (even though I am morally opposed to Sandy’s capitulation).

-My umbrella is without fault.

-My fingernail, contrary to popular opinion, is growing out just fine and is in NO danger of falling off.

-Workouts are up to date, and while the musical does interfere with our schedule, we are making it work.

-I am actually doing a really good job of eating healthily. (Probably won’t go so well at the choir retreat…)

That is all, have a lovely weekend.



One thought on “Fall Semester Check-Up

  1. Can you keep your comments about Sandy to yourself? I was just starting to like her a little. 🙂

    And YES to Music History!!! Love love love love love Dr. Edwards.

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