Wayne Schneider, associate professor of music, considers himself a teacher of the old school variety. He’s been working at his craft for more than three decades and jokes of eventually succumbing to 'white lung' from all the chalk dust he stirs up at the blackboard during one of his music history courses. Despite his self-view, it's apparent that the Kroepsch-Maurice Award winner is as contemporary as he is traditional.
For the past 13 years, Schneider has been teaching music history courses at UVM; he previously worked in various positions at Harvard, Cornell, Brown and Colby. He's managed to keep it fresh, in part by playing the keyboard or piano and CDs in class to illustrate his points. He requires students to buy and listen to CDs; they'll be asked to name composers from musical snippets played during exams. A surprising number of students — the same ones who say his courses are very challenging — call Schneider the best teacher they've ever had at UVM. "The real strength of the course was the professor," writes one student. "He seemed to truly enjoy teaching and had such a command of the subject that we were never confused. He made class fun."
"I feel like my job is done when my students tell me that they'll listen to anything," he says. "Students come here with a different set of musical suitcases today. But their passion about music is still high. The music, the text as it were, is always at the center of what I teach. Music is a living tradition, and I want them to become part of that heritage." As far as Schneider is concerned, he's succeeded if he's broadened students' musical horizons and helped them to "listen with different ears."