One of the professors I've coached, I'll call her Kate, started the first day of the new semester with a musical interlude. I liked her anecdote so much that I asked her permission to share it with you.
A couple of weeks ago, on the first day of class, as Kate's students filed in and sat down, they did it to the music of "Our New Orleans", the fabulous collection of Big Easy hits put together by some of n'awlins greatest musicians to benefit the victims of Katrina. (All proceeds of the CD go to Habitat for Humanity's rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast.)
While students listened to "Yes We Can" by Allen Toussaint, Kate handed out the class syllabi. They read the course requirements while tapping their feet to Edie Bo's version of "The Saints Go Marching In". And they filled out brief "student profiles" while swaying to "Prayer to New Orleans" sung by Charlie Miller.
While still playing the CD softly in the background, Kate explained how the album had been produced and why she was playing it for this particular class. She talked about ways the disaster and its aftermath provide examples of main themes of the course. (Katrina provides an appropriate case study for Kate's class -- but for pseudonomy's sake, I'll skip details that would give away her field.) The class spent much of the next hour discussing the effects of the Hurricane and how it related to themes they would be studying throughout the semester.
"The students got really involved in the topic," said Kate enthusiastically. "It was probably the best 'first-day-of-class' discussion I've ever led."
Inspiring use of music, eh?