We sometimes forget that professors are also people. They have feelings too, interests and a personal life. In the classroom we only experience their teacher persona… not their actual personality. I interviewed three of my professors to experience what they are like outside of the classroom: professors Van Overveld, Tijsterman and Morris. Because it indicates personality so well, I chose music as the conversation topic. This is what they said:
Professor Tijsterman has a wide spectrum of musical interests. Some of them are world music, jazz, rock. He likes to tune music to the atmosphere; while working he may listen to classical music; while having a Scotch with a dear friend he enjoys jazz serving as a ‘warm background’. Sometimes however, Tijsterman enjoys paying full attention to the music. He believes that in those instances, music can truly enter your heart. When music hits you, you let go of thought and live completely in the moment.
Tijsterman goes deep into the benefits of listening to music. He says that in our worldview we are predisposed by concepts and mainstream perspectives. Tijsterman believes that music allows us to relate to the world in another, more accurate way. Furthermore, music has the ability to open our minds and change our ideas. As Plato said; “music is powerful, (and potentially dangerous).”
Apart from being able to change our views, music can empower our memories. There are several ‘musical moments’ that Tijsterman cherishes, but the most romantic one involves his wife: While walking in the Italian town Perugia he heard this majestical Fado coming from a small idyllic alley. The music completely captivated him and empowered the moment with his wife so strongly that it is etched in his mind forever. Every time Tijsterman hears the singer: Mafalda Arnaut, he relives that blissful summer night.
Professor Van Overveld
A few among the wide variety of genres that professor Van Overveld listens to are Baroque music, Tango and Bruce Springsteen. While commuting back and forth to UCR, he enjoys listening to music. His standard radio station is Studio Brussel. They broadcast upcoming talent as well as several festivals in the Benelux. Sometimes however, Van Overveld enjoys selecting songs himself from his wide selection of Cd’s.
Since I share Van Overveld’s fandom of Bruce, we ended up talking a lot about ‘the Boss’. Van Overveld has been at multiple Springsteen concerts. For him, attending such concerts makes you realize what effect music can have on you: at every concert Van Overveld feels the vibe/bond running through the concert hall. He feels that the audience and Bruce together become some sort of a family. Both the up-beat and deeper songs captivate all audience members and Bruce himself equally: they all know what it is about. Van Overveld particularly identifies with ‘the family’ because he shares the worker’s background with them (he was raised in a worker’s family).
Nice anecdote: Van Overveld personally met Bruce Springsteen. While Van Overveld was standing outside of the concert hall several hours before the actual concert commenced, Bruce Springsteen rode along in his van and said: “Hop in guys”. Somehow, Van Overveld eventually found himself in a restaurant with no one but the boss.
Professor Morris primarily listens to music because she feels it can empower her. Music can totally captivate and, thereby, encourage. This is the reason why she is currently fond of Beyoncé: while Morris is irritated by misogyny (for example Trump’s scandal), The Queen B invigorates Morris to feel like a power woman. Powerful music is what Morris enjoys in general. Whenever songs can convey this strong energy, Morris always gets goosebumps.
As a student, professor Morris mainly listened to alternative music. She listened to Bowie and Radiohead but also liked to discover small bands and artists that did something ‘fresh’. Morris still loves to discover new bands. For example, she is currently into modern alternative French bands such as Fauve and La Femme. Morris loves it when people recommend songs to her. It is the reason why she exchanges musical recommendations (from discoveries) with her daughter and also the reason why she and I just ended up playing songs for each other for the remainder of the interview. Among the songs was a cover of Creep by a homeless man. Both professor Morris and I felt the music’s ‘power’. And indeed… the goosebumps did appear.
Joel van Alderijk, Class of 2018, is a History and Religion major from ’t Harde, the Netherlands.