Maximus: Ho there, Stephanus. Halt your hasty steps for an old colleague. Isn’t the campus pleasant on this fine Autumnal day?

Stephanus: Yes my dear Maximus. The term begins, and once again my students plunge into their assignments and exams and prepare for juries.

Maximus: Juries?

Stephanus: I forget you are a scientist! In Music our students are subjected to a final performance, judged by a panel of faculty members. It will be the first time for some of them, so they are nervous, and the sight of some of our professors frightens them.

Maximus: You must remind your students not to judge the book by its cover. I’m sure those professors stood in the same shoes in their time.

Stephanus: You are quite correct. But we must remember not to prejudge our students on appearances as well.

Maximus: How so?

Stephanus: My student Alex for example wears jeans and metal T-shirts, and tattoos and interestingly pierced body parts. And yet Alex is deeply interested in studying the organ and traditional classical music, and has worked very diligently and accomplished a great deal in a short time.

Maximus: And how will Alex do on his jury?

Stephanus: There I’ve caught you Maximus. Remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover? Alex, is in fact Alexandra, and moreover she is married with three children.

Maximus: There you have me! But honestly Stephanus, why do you waste your time teaching music? How can you take this trivial pursuit seriously?

Stephanus. Trivial? Maximus, you’ve been drinking again I fear. You of all people should know that Plato and Aristotle hold up music’s power to build character and judgment in the young. It is not just a means in itself; it creates responsible citizens with organized work habits, and above all encourages creative thinking, the most prized skill in any endeavour.

Maximus: But science seeks truth, forms logical arguments, cures the sick, discovers new worlds.

Stephanus: Music provides a path for the creative mind. Surely you can see that Music and Science can be studied in concert, with mutual benefit to both disciplines.

Maximus: Well, I am old and despondent about education my friend. Sometimes I feel that these young people should simply embrace the “Epitaph of Seikilos” as their motto.

Stephanus: And what would that be?

Maximus: “While you live, 
dance and sing, 
be joyful: 
For life is short, 
and Time carries away his prize.”

Stephanus: Very well Maximus, I can’t argue with that.

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4 Responses to Dialogues of Maximus and Stephanus

  1. Chris Thackray says:

    Perhaps a visit to the Three Choirs Festival would do Maximus good. I’m sure he would enjoy the ale…

  2. Stephanie Martin says:

    Yeah. He needs to get out more. I’m a little worried about Maximus. He’s old and wise and gives good advice, but sometimes he’s a bit of a bore! And Stephanus tends to fly off the handle and makes mistakes because he’s inexperienced. But I like that the two regularly exchange ideas and learn from each other. That’s what a university community is all about.

  3. James Janossy says:

    Very enjoyable. I’d like to hear more of the conversation.

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