Sting addressed 32 Boise State University musical-composition students during a Saturday stop on his "Broken Music" tour. In at least 30 concert dates, he's combining performances at smaller venues and in college towns with lectures at universities, so far including San Jose State and the University of Oregon in Eugene. He plans to play this week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In Boise, the singer-songwriter, whose given name is Gordon Sumner, spent more than an hour discussing classical music, his own songs and writing in a classroom on the university campus.
"I'm a little nervous," Sting told the students and five members of the school's faculty, according to a new release from BSU. "I played at Shea Stadium [in New York] in front of thousands, but in front of you guys, I'm a wreck."
He wore a short-sleeved gray shirt and gray slacks and played his trademark bass during the session, accompanied by two guitarists from his band.
"Sting talked about his writing process, his influences and inspiration, and we played several songs," wrote Shane Fontayne, one of the guitarists, on the musician's Web site.
"He was a very cordial, very nice person," said James Cook, the chairman of BSU's music department. "He answered the students' questions with respect."
Sting's managers contacted university officials about the class months ago. They set strict limits on who could attend and insisted the school limit media coverage to the student newspaper.
"They set a limit on the number of people who could be there, how many students, and number of faculty," said Julie Hahn, a BSU spokeswoman.
"Then everybody was issued tickets," she said. "Boise State had the security make sure that he got there OK when he was on campus."
Sting plans to offer a similar class Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he'll also perform hits including "Fields of Gold," a celebration of young love, and "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the story of a teacher's forbidden but strong feelings of attraction to a student.