Students: Enjoy Year-Long Learning With "Musicophilia" 

Students will best benefit from a series of events surrounding “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks if they have completed reading it as this year’s common book selection.

“I think one of the reasons the RIC campus voted on “Musicophilia” as this year’s common book is that it has many programming possibilities across academic disciplines,” said Anita Duneer, co-chair of the Open Books-Open Minds (OBOM) program. “There are so many different issues relating to music and the brain that will interest students in many majors, from elementary and secondary education to gerontology, psychology and music.”

In “Musicophilia,” Sacks, a British neurologist, explores the healing powers of music in persons with chronic and degenerative medical conditions, as well as the effect music has on the human brain in general.

The OBOM program engages students throughout campus in programming centered on a shared intellectual focus – each year’s chosen common book.

The program hosts book discussions, film screenings and other activities throughout the academic year, culminating in the annual Open Books-Open Minds Student Conference. The conference will be held in April 2015, but Duneer said the hope is that students will start preparing to submit conference papers through individual OBOM events.

Students should get ready to rock at The Musicophilia Musicathon, another OBOM event.

The musicathon, a daylong series of musical performances in an open-mike format, will be held Thursday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the campus quad outside the Student Union Café.

“We hope that the events, including the Musicophilia Musicathon, will inspire students to develop papers, posters and other creative research projects for the conference,” she said. “The events also give students an opportunity to learn from their peers and professors in different academic disciplines.”

Students interested in performing at the musicathon are encouraged to register for performance times at Impromptu performances also are welcomed. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and perform.

Students may also attend a roundtable discussion on strategies for teaching “Musicophilia” on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 12:30–2 p.m. in Craig-Lee Hall, Room 255.  RIC professors from several academic departments will present their ideas for incorporating the book into classroom instruction.

OBOM will host a screening of “Awakenings,” a 1990 film directed by Penny Marshall and based on Sacks’ 1973 memoir of the same name. The book recounts Sacks’ experience in treating victims of encephalitis lethargica, a disease that leaves patients in a catatonic state.

The screening, followed by a facilitated discussion, is Thursday, Oct. 23, 4-6 p.m. in the Fortes Room in  Adams Library.

For more information on OBOM events and “Musicophilia,” visit Additional OBOM programming for the 2014-2015 academic year will be posted online next month.