It's something of a rush hour as the afternoon light is dappled down through the evergreens at Wollongong's Conservatorium of Music.
But rush hour here is not like the middle of a city. A young mum sits on the grass feeding her baby, waiting for another child's lesson, we guess.
A few boys show off their soccer skills on the lawn, taking advantage of a break between lessons, perhaps.
And while the greenery is showing the effect of the drought, there's enough shade and old stone structures to create the welcoming feeling of an oasis.
We may be running late but it's best to not rush past the long row of teaching rooms, students and teachers deep in instruction, refining and concentrating, or letting fly.
Rush and you'll miss the cool jazz lilting out of the practice rooms, some Miles Davis perhaps, So What from the album Kind of Blue, but not for long ... it fades as we pass, soon to be replaced in our ears by the voice lesson next door.
Then a piano session, a few guitars, then a trombone, smirking proudly behind its thin facade of formality.
With one son delivered to his lesson I'm drawn to the auditorium which, as often it does, hums with the sporadic beats and the improvisational mojo of a free-flowing jazz group.
It's the Thursday jazz combo, with Eric Dunan right there on trumpet. Dunan is a magnetic figure, a force of nature, his enthusiasm and love for music irrepressible. Across Wollongong it's safe to say there are scores of people who play music today because of the difference he's made. The group's music is a pleasure to come across and this is just practice.
Walk on a little further and the sounds of the Powell Strings rush from the windows like water over the falls. The players are 11, 12, mostly from the early years of high school, but you wouldn't know that to listen, as they soar through the Allegro from Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G Minor.
In the hands of conductor Tanya Phillips they're horses galloping through the forest, no, the narrow cobbled streets of Vienna, and when they make it to the end they're greeted by elation.
Surely that sound can't be the ten-year-old trumpeter we just spoke to. That must be her teacher. But poke your head round the door and yes it's her, bending the notes like a pro. Quickly you duck away, not wanting to interrupt, hoping she can comprehend the talent she has already unlocked.
Like the sound of this? Many of these players will be on show at the Con's end of year festival on Sunday.
As you may have gathered, this isn't a researched piece of journalism ruled by objectivity and "balance". This is an ode to my favourite place in Wollongong, a trip through its appeal, and a prayer that it will always be there.
I'm not a disinterested observer - my sons learn music at the Con, and play in ensembles there as well.
Learning music can be a pretty solitary affair, and the discipline of practice brings benefits in life that go beyond the bass or treble clef, or at least parents like to think so. Wax on, wax off, grasshopper.
But we know it's the most fun when you can do it with other players. And the quiet of Keiraville, nestled in the corner of Wollongong's Botanic Garden, is an ideally safe and relaxed location for the pursuit of joy through music.
The word "conservatorium" may sound a little on the pretentious side but Wollongong's Con is anything but. This is Wollongong, after all - parents arrive to pick up students in their high-vis gear, their steelworks protective gear, slick business attire, or barefoot after surfing.
A dad plays handball with his boys, another's busy sketching what he sees.
Talk to Con CEO Joe Gaudiosi, a Port Kembla boy, and this is something he wants you to know. The Conservatorium is not an elitist institution - they aim for excellence, but not exclusivity. Gaudiosi points proudly to research showing a quarter of students come from Wollongong's southern, often less wealthy, suburbs.
He'll point you towards the Con's growing work in music therapy for people with disabilities, the community orchestra development, the work done off-campus with other students, the fact there are 1100 students who learn there each week, another 500 in off-site school programs.
Yes, there are some families of very high achievers, some who take music super seriously, and there are those for whom it's nothing more than a bit of fun. You'll find some bloodlines with more musical talent in them than most of us will ever know, and some parents who have never played and consider themselves "not musical". But mostly the Con families are just normal people, as diverse as Wollongong.
"Our community is not a couple of thousand people on our mailout listing - our community is a quarter of a million people spread across the Illawarra," Gaudiosi says.
"And come 2023, we could need the love and support of tens and hundreds of thousands of people."
2023: we'll get to that soon.
As for the name, that highfalutin term, it appears to have originated from "conservatory", which by the early 1600s meant a "place for preserving or carefully keeping anything".
Since the early 19th Century "conservatorium" (or its French and Italian equivalents), had become more particular - a place for education in science or arts, specifically music.
Whatever the discipline, we could argue that teaching itself usually involves some "preserving" - keeping the knowledge or skills involved in some technical or artistic endeavour, and keeping them alive, maintaining them, by passing them on to a new generation of practitioners.
Physically? The buildings could do with an upgrade, no doubt about it.
But conserving the place at all will become increasingly acute as the end of the lease with Wollongong City Council approaches - June 2023.
A chill fell over the Con and its supporters when in 2018 the draft master plan for the Wollongong Botanic Garden listed plans for a function centre, and cafes, but the conservatorium buildings only as "TBC". The Con's home in the southwest corner of the gardens is not guaranteed, and the city's mayor said something like "show us why".
Gaudiosi doesn't prefer to talk of a fight for survival, but rather working with the city council to try and access state government funding for regional conservatoria - akin to the $20 million the Riverina Con in Wagga Wagga recently won.
In the meantime, he wants to get the word out about this undervalued Wollongong institution - the work it does in the community, the benefits of a specialised music centre of excellence
"Our job is to get that message about what we bring to the community out there," he said.
"The number of people in the community today, whether they be involved in music or more broadly within our business, government, education or general community that have had a connection with the Con is simply astounding.
"The Con punches above its weight, and it deserves recognition for that. The teachers are our biggest asset; our students and families are our biggest advocates."
An anecdote to finish: I left my sunglasses at the Con one afternoon this year. I proceeded to forget them them for a week or two, then the winter holidays set in. Eventually I made it back there, to find them sitting on the exact windowsill where I'd left them three or four weeks earlier, near a teaching room, by a well-used staircase. No-one had thought to make them their own. That would have been against the spirit of the place.