Relaxing to records – in class

UNB hosts a course on listening and taking care of records. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Bob Mersereau owns thousands of records and 45s, and the last time he counted, he had more than 3,000 CDs. Collecting albums has been a passion for the Fredericton native since his childhood. After 40 years in the music industry, he’s written multiple books including Top 100 Canadian Albums, a 2007 national bestseller, and Top 100 Canadian Singles.

Now he’s bringing his experience to the University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning.

Over the run of four weekly classes that began on Nov. 14, Mersereau said he will use his record knowledge to educate participants of all ages, and teach them how to have the best vinyl listening experience.

“It’s time when we listen to a bit of music but mostly, we talk. It’s about the love of vinyl and how to enjoy it best,” said Mersereau.

“There’s too much noise in the world anyways so when you just have one thing to pay attention to, it’s really nice.”

Bob Mersereau is teaching a UNB night course on how to appreciate vinyl. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

During the course, Mersereau said he will talk about record formats, record value and where to find the best records for the best price. He will also chat about operating and caring for turntables. And, of course, students will listen to vinyl records.

“I’m doing this to have just as much fun as them.”

Mersereau started discussing a new modern music course in the spring of 2017 with Richard Hornsby, UNB’s director of the centre for musical arts.

The duo was interested in creating a course that people would want to take – then they realized vinyl records have made a resurgence.

Since Mersereau’s specialty is music history and he owns a large collection of vinyl records, the plan was perfect.

The course will focus on rock music – Merserau’s specialty. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

“[Hornsby] told me, ‘I’ve been looking for something on modern pop and rock music, especially Canadian,’ and I said, ‘Well, I hate to tell you Richard, but I wrote the book on that,’” said Mersereau.

“We threw around some ideas … and so many people are talking about vinyl. There’s a resurgence, so we said, ‘Let’s tap into that.’”

One vinyl course has already been hosted at UNB and Mersereau said the participants, ranging from ages 25 to 60, enjoyed it.

“What’s nice is people who listen to music like talking about music so it’s nice to have a group [to do that with],” he said.

In the past several years, Mersereau said vinyl has started to gain a following and fan base again. Mersereau, whose first purchase was a stereo system for vinyl records in 1977, said he’s more than happy to teach the course and help people “get back into vinyl.”

“Because everybody’s spent the last 30 years listening to music on-the-go, whether it’s in your car or in your headphones or in your office, very few people have had the opportunity to sit and listen to a record, which in my opinion is the best way to enjoy it,” he said.

“I hope that [the students] come out with a greater appreciation of that time that you can spend just to relax, quiet things down and concentrate on the art that’s in front of you.”