Friday, June 22, 2007

Teach to Learn

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies offers a three-part work* with an extended coda. I can't say I agreedwith everything, but I am grateful that someone is speaking out in defense of classical music. While I think his speech meanders a bit (it seems to cover a lot in one sitting), there are some true pearls of wisdom. This one was buried in "Part I":

Teaching is an education for the teacher, too, for you learn far more than you teach.

Good. Someone gets it. Unfortunately, I think there are far too many teachers who believe they have stopped learning (aack--what reason to live then??). When I tell people I'm getting a PhD in Musicology, the next question is usually: "So, are you going to teach?" asked in a way that insinuates "Well, what else would you do?" It just so happens that yes, I am going to teach. And yes, I WANT to teach....not just as a means to finance my research, but because I'm not done learning.

*three-part, I believe, courtesy of the Guardian.
Thanks to Elaine Fine for the original notice.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Dissertation Fun

This blogpost will be short and perhaps completely boring to most people who read this blog.
You've been warned.

As I go through the task of pulling together the bits and pieces of minutiae in my dissertation, I think I can safely say this is my least favorite part. Checking citations, moving margins, and searching for typos is the most painful part of the whole process, even though it is "easy."

I'm proofreading, basically, and have discovered the following to be most helpful: reading aloud. I find, even though it is a document to be read, and not heard, not only do I catch typos and punctuation errors, but it is much easier to revise sentences that are either dull or overly lengthy. I imagine that it is the narration for a documentary, accompanied by pictures, interviews and soundclips. It makes total sense that the paper needs to sound right...I am, after all, a musician.

Of course, this is best practiced in solitude. I thankfully had a few hours of that today. Hey, at the very least, it is good practice should I need to seek employment doing voice-overs.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nessun Dorma--Paul Potts

How absurd is it that the most mythical, magical moment of this is Simon Cowell's smile?
I want to be skeptical and dismiss it all as hype, but I'd be lying. I got "goosepimples" too.
Thanks to Alex Ross for the original post!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A big hole in MassCore

This is bad news for the Commonwealth, as far as I'm concerned. Why, in a state that is host to numerous conservatories and music schools, would there be no arts component in the core curriculum (MassCore)?

I get frustrated that we are still defending the value of the arts. It isn't as though the statistics don't exist--it is that no one wants to accept them. To accept them would mean changing the status quo and taking risks. It means throwing money in the direction of those forlorn painters, those stoned musicians, and those spacey actors!

Of course, I'm referring to stereotypes, but in a place where their contributions are valued so little, can we really blame them for being forlorn, stoned and spacey?

UPDATE: Some people get it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Finale

Alex Ross provides a conclusion to the recent rigamarole regarding the AJC and its "reorganization." Mistakes were clearly made--evidently Robert Spano's letter to the editor slipped through, thereby instigating the perception that the AJC was doing away with arts criticism.

Klibanoff takes aim at the Arts community for screaming "fire" when it was merely smoke from a candle. While I can see his point, I do understand why the arts community is on the defensive. It isn't as though support for the arts has been a huge priority for the government. Often "reorganization" means "reprioritization" and that can mean that the arts end up on the bottom of the list. But the AJC is not the federal government. Time will tell what this reorganization will mean. But I think we should watch very carefully. Healthy skepticism is important in a world where we all struggle for legitimacy--newspaper editors and musicians alike.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Diapasonic shopping!

Wow! This has to beat the lazy showtunes on out-of-tune pianos I hear at Nordstrom's.

Many thanks to Lisa Hirsch for posting about it first!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Adding some GO to GTD :-)

As most of you know, I'm always looking for ways to be better organized. For the most part, I subscribe to the Gettings Things Done (GTD) method. Unfortunately, I never took the time to sit down and think about how I might apply GTD to our move. As a result, I am sitting in the midst of chaos.

A recent post by awesome organizational/workflow consultant Matt Cornell gave me some more food for thought. In his wonderful review and summary of Getting Organized by Chris Crouch, Matt highlights several interesting features of the book.

My new personal favorite is the "MIT": The Most Important Thing (the term is courtesy of Gina Trapani at Lifehacker). The general idea is to determine what the MOST important thing is to accomplish for that day and do it first, even before an e-mail check (gasp!). Yes, yes, yes....I know. Blogging is not my MIT, but I figured I'd lay out the idea first. My MIT for today will be my inbox processing because it has simply become a huge burden. I can't focus and I cringe every time the mail comes because the stack is beginning to lean.

I quote from Matt's summary of Crouch here and interpolate my comments:

# His reasons we feel overwhelmed:

* You are setting unrealistic time frames for what you are trying to do.
I find my time frames are fine if I use them effectively (therein lies the problem)
* You are procrastinating too long.
* You are spending too much time working on things that do not matter.
Only occasionally, as a form of procrastination.
* You are over-promising what you can do for someone.
No. I think I've finally conquered that one.
* You do not have the profound knowledge needed to do the task.
OH! That explains why my complete 6 volume history of the Mass isn't published yet!
* You do not know when and how to say No.
Again, getting better at that one. Graduate school is all about saying yes, yes, yes, so I am enjoying the freedom now to say no, no, no. At least for the time being. :-)

# He lists these causes of procrastination:

* Perfectionism - the paralyzing need to get it right the first time
Big, big problem for me. I hate drafts even though I know how necessary they are.
* Impulsiveness - taking on too many things to do and overloading yourself
* Fear of failure - rather be seen as lacking in effort than ability
I do have a fear of failure, but it isn't that I'd rather be seen as lacking in effort.
* Perception of task - seems too hard or too boring
* Uncertainty - not sure what to do
I tend to err on the other side. I make hasty decisions just to move forward but then have to go back because it was the wrong choice. to process that inbox!


Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea