What’s Up with the Wagon?

Professor Carol's Wagon

Professor Carol’s Wagon

Nobody ever accused Carol of traveling light.

Some speculate that she developed a fetish for carrying everything she owns from her experience as a student in the former Soviet Union, where buying any small necessity could consume days. Others say it’s just her nature to be over-prepared.

If that translates into being mentally over-prepared – and it probably does – that may explain Carol’s ability to spew out three hours of material in a 45-minute talk. (Making it all comprehensible and fun is harder to explain.) Her students at SMU, concerned that Carol’s penchant for carrying too many items to class would endanger her physical safety, pitched in and bought her this red wagon.

Carol with wiskIt was a poignant but rather futile gesture since Carol immediately filled it to overflowing. Nevertheless, the wagon clocked a lot of miles between the library, classroom, and office, and it represents perfectly the eclectic load of knowledge and experience that Carol brings to her work.

Each item in the wagon illustrates an important point about music. We don’t make this up: Carol actually uses these props when she speaks in public, and if you don’t understand the relationship between sonata form and kitchen tools, then you need to let Carol explain. It may take time, but bear with her and it will all make perfectly good sense.

Carol with chainsawIn her new life as a goat rancher in rural Texas, Carol has been able to expand her paraphernalia and develop important artistic insights chatting with the locals at Roy’s Feed ‘n Seed. She has a slightly bigger wagon – a green GMC pickup – but the principle remains the same: Art is everywhere and for everybody. Roy even has a collection of Mozart CDs that he sheepishly pulled from his desk drawer when Carol asked him about his favorite music. His chickens like it, too!

Carol’s grassroots approach was nurtured in her childhood in Roanoke, Virginia. Her mother listened to the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts in the kitchen while her father picked hillbilly guitar and told tall tales on the back porch. Carol has been on a mission to reconcile the two ever since and rightly points out how the divisions are frequently artificial.

Carol with sphereSo what’s in your wagon? Listen to the podcasts or dive into the complete multi-media course Discovering Music, and you can make Carol’s artistic wares your own. The stories behind each item – and more – will be told in due time.