The arts gets a decidedly academic twist at Quest University in Squamish this fall.
Along with a diverse range of courses on building better cities, the electoral system, Spanish and self-improvement, there is music, visual arts, dance or photography as part of its fall Continuing Education program.
Composer Adam Hill, a musician with interests ranging from classical to bluegrass, is offering a course called Music as a Mirror: Cultural Reflections from a Global Soundscape.
"As a musician, one of the things that really interests me is what people usually call musicology. Essentially it's studying music without the boundaries that we often place upon it," Hill says.
"Music is one of those things that is universal, as far as we know. Human communities everywhere engage in some sort of musical activity."
He wants to explore what is common and what is different between peoples.
The course is design to be mainly a group discussion, looking at different music from Western and non-Western cultures. "Where the discussions go from there, the sky is the limit. It really depends on what people bring to the group as their own experiences," he says.
Hill adds the course will appeal to both musicians and others interested in world music and exploring world culture in general.
Hill is currently working on his PhD on music composition at the University of British Columbia, and says he is integrating the many musical experiences he has had, including jazz and folk.
"My doctoral thesis, for example, is a chamber piece for a small classical ensemble augmented with a bluegrass band," he says.
He has already composed pieces for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.
"It's really incredible (to work with these orchestras). The VSO is such a joy. You can put something in front of them, and they will learn it in 20 minutes," Hill says.
Music as a Mirror: Cultural Reflections from a Global Soundscapetakes place over six weeks, from Oct. 27 to Dec. 1 and costs $195.
Other courses being offered include Explorations in Mixed Media with painter and collage artist Jeanne Krabbendam (Nov. 14 to Nov. 21, 10 a.m.; $240), Introduction to Ballroom taught by Jennifer Carney and Thomas Bernard (Oct. 22 to Dec. 10, 7 p.m.; $255), and Introduction to Digital Photography with Phil Tifo (Oct. 13 to Nov. 17, 6 p.m.; $195).
For more information on these and other Continuing Education programs at Quest University Canada, visit www.questu.ca.