Farewell ND

Last week I received some sad, but not entirely unexpected news – I will no longer be teaching music classes at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. I truly loved the challenge of teaching music to non-musicians, it’s a real shame to say goodbye.

I began my music journey at ND in 2007 with a class called Music Appreciation (TS307). During the 13 week course, we began by learning the basic building blocks of music – melody, harmony, rhythm etc and then did a series of listening exercises – learning how to listen perceptively. This followed with a crash-course in music history, starting with the middle ages and heading all the way into the 20th century.

What I loved about teaching this class was improving it. Each semester, I would look back at the previous semester and come up with ways to enhance the learning experience – sometimes this would be a tweak here and there, other times a major change. I believe the class became ‘tighter’ with each semester.

After TS307 followed similiar classes – Music in Theatre (TS310) and Music in Media (CO205). As with TS307, these classes were geared for non-musicians and focused on music for the stage (Broadway musicals) and media (film, TV, advertising). Sadly, TS310 only ran twice and CO205 just once – the main issue being (so far as I can tell) low student numbers. ND is the smallest university in Perth – one reason why many students choose it – but the downside is that classes such as mine are at risk of falling by the wayside.

Loosing CO205 in particular was a real blow – not least because I love film music but also due to the amount of time & effort that went into preparing that course. As well as spending many hours carefully planning the listening list and assessment structure, I had to hire a video editor to help prepare all the film and TV excerpts. I bought a new set of audio speakers purely for this class, as the speakers in the classroom weren’t really up to scratch for film music. Being attached to a 13 foot ceiling, they were also too far away. So I had speaker stands made for the speakers that I bought. I went all out for CO205. I do hope I get the opportunity to teach something similiar in the not-too-distant future.

Anyway – here are some class snaps from over the years – if you’re a former student reading this, I hope you enjoyed the classes as much as I did!