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For those who didn't learn early in life, reading sheet music seems about as difficult as learning Sanskrit. But according to the Learning Annex (212-371-0280, learningannex.com), it's a breezy, three-hour process. "Learn to Read Music in Just One Night" is taught by experienced New York-based musician Sara Landeau on February 19. [Tedra Meyer]

NATURE

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EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT

"Spanking the Monkey: The Strangest Children's Book of the 19th Century Teaches You the Facts of Life—Complete With Singing Vagina"
By Paul Collins

"Re-Rethinking SUNY
New York State's Public Higher Ed Deserves More Money—Not Less"
By John Giuffo

"The Real Estate Job Shuffle: Lost Your Job in Finance? No Problem. For a Small Investment of Time and Money, You Can Be on Your Way to Making a Living in Real Estate."
By Jessica Goldbogen

"Location, Location, Location: CUNY Prof Angus Fletcher Discovers American Poetry's Scenic Overlook"
By Jessica Winter

"Coffee and a Muffin: What Every Student Needs to Know: How to Beat Writer's Block"
By Jorge Morales

"Six Feet Undergraduate: Mortuary Science Can Be a Worthwhile Undertaking"
By Bethany Lyttle

"Haircut 101: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Long-Held Assumptions"
By Nita Rao

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It's a bird! It's a plane! It's . . . wait a minute, it is a bird. But what kind?! Lucky for you the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (718-623-7200, bbg.org) offers "Backyard Birding" to help you identify "different plants and landscapes that will attract birds to your backyard."


Feeling disconnected here in the city? Tom Brown's Tracker School(908-479-4681, trackerschool.com), in Asbury, New Jersey, offers seminars and workshops that emphasize survival, environmental protection, wildlife tracking, and general camping and hiking to bring out the woodsman in even the most urban of New Yorkers.


Can you not bear another humdrum weekend? Have you been itching to let loose and just monkey around? Have you been feeling like the otter person out at social functions? Stress no more! The Bronx Zoo(718-220-5100, bronxzoo.com) has lots of great educational programs for kids ("A Bit of Winter") and for adults ("Love Is in the Air"). They're not lion! [Zachary Wagman]

PHOTOGRAPHY

Feel like a tourist in your own city. NYU's (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) "On Location: Photographing New York," from March 13 through May 15, will take you on field trips to important New York sites such as Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, and more. Take beautiful pictures that capture the imagery and rhythm of New York while learning basic camera techniques. A camera that can be set to "manual" is required.


Baffled by new technology and the ever increasing number of buttons and dials on your electronic SLR camera? The International Center of Photography (212-857-0001, icp.org) is here to help with the class "How to Use Your Electronic SLR Camera From A to Z." This one-day seminar (February 14) will cover topics from metering and autofocus to flash. Cost: $255.


Are you an avid reader of Vogue? Are you more interested in the pictures than the articles? NYU's (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) "Fashion and Photography—Two Great Modern Arts" will lead you through the history of fashion photography and the role that magazines played in its development. Trips to museums, photo archives, and galleries are planned. Classes run March 5-6. Cost: $345. [Jennifer Holmes]

RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

Is it kosher to top the Christmas tree with a light-up Star of David? Can your mother-in-law's favorite menorah double as a Kwanzaa candelabra? When you share your life with someone of another faith, you run into some touchy issues. Meet other mismatched pairs at the 92nd Street Y's (212-415-5765, 92y.org) "Workshops for Interfaith Couples" and discuss the complexities of your arrangements. Even if you don't end up with insight, at least you'll have a new group of friends with whom to kvetch about your disapproving families and trade recipes for Hanukkah fruitcake.


There's more to Eastern philosophy than decorating tips and alternative medicine. NYU's "East Meets West: Major Thinkers of India and China" (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) offers a thorough study of Indian and Chinese spirituality from the Vedanta to Tao and of famous thinkers from Buddha to Mao, focusing on how these texts and individuals were influenced by Western ideologies. Confucius say: Don't pass up a chance to replace your uninformed stereotypes with actual information. [Mollie Wilson]

SPORTS

If you're having trouble getting in touch with your inner snow bunny this year, look no further than Wild Earth Adventures (845.354.3717, wildearthadventures.com). Wilderness guru Charles Cook will be leading "holistic cross-country ski outings" in New York and New Jersey throughout January and February.


If the winter chills leave you aching for thrills, try cyclocross! Developed in the 1940s by a bunch of cabin-fevered Euro roadies who wanted an on-bike activity in the coldest part of winter, it's the fastest growing cycling sport in the country. Learn the basics at cyclingnews.com/cross, then join the Kissena Cycling Club (kissena.info) and soon you'll be navigating steep banks and stream crossings at road-racing speeds.


Or looking for one-stop shopping for all your winter sports needs? Then look no further than Chelsea Piers (chelseapiers.com), the 30-acre waterfront sports village between 17th and 23rd streets and the Hudson River. You'll find ice and roller skating rinks, batting cages and bowling lanes, 36 championship golf courses (played on "Full Swing Simulators"), basketball, indoor soccer, a rock-climbing wall, full-service health club, and much more. [Adele Nickel]

VISUAL ARTS

This class is for those whose stoop-sale fetish has filled their apartments with tattered old furniture in desperate need of repair. Forget about repairing; just add a new layer of paint. "Furniture decorating techniques" is a five-session class starting February 5, at the Folk Art Institute (212-265-1040, ext. 105). Cost: $155.


Open to all levels of artist, the Bridgeview School of Fine Art's "Portrait and Figure Sculpture: Classical Approach" (718-937-1300, academicart.com) is a primer for the budding Rodin in you. Working from a model, students will explore essentials such as anatomy, proportion, balance, and treatment of surfaces.

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