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Old 22nd October 2019
  #31
I worked at the local college for 26 years. I saw a lot of what the OP is talking about. The hiring process for music professors was long and arduous and they only wanted the best of the best BUT if the professor was too good they did not want to hire him or her for fear that they would show up the other professors in their department.. It was a delicate balance. I remember one professor was hired and she was amazing. All the students loved her and her classes were overflowing and there was a long wait list for her classes. She was on tenure track and the other professors in that department saw how popular she was with the students and could not wait to get rid of her. She lasted two years and was out.

I also saw professors work their hardest during the 7 years towards their tenure and as soon as they got tenure they went into a dormant phase and did just enough to get by. One professor was extremely well liked by his students and was always ready to help them in any way possible with their studies. As soon as he got tenure he became a virtual hermit and his office hours were 1 to 1:30 pm the second Tuesday of every month. He rarely was at the college and spent most of his time at home. Nice fat salary and he was tenured. Nothing the college could do.

Another professor was a gifted French horn player who was in some major orchestras. He was NOT a very good teacher. His students would come to their lesson and ask about playing a very difficult passage. He would take up the French Horn and play the passage without fault, hand the instrument back to the students and say "well that is the way it is suppose to be played" but never helped the student learn HOW it was suppose to be done.

The college also had some really bad administrators who were former professors but were not at all ready to lead a whole conservatory of musicians.

FWIW
Old 22nd October 2019
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
So, what’s the holdup? I need $20 of gas on pump five. And a pack of Marlboro’s. You got change for a $100?
After dropping out of college for a while, I worked in a self-serve gas station in a very, very rough part of my town for a year and a half in the mid-70s. It was... very interesting.

On careful consideration, I'd rather teach at an academic institution.

No one ever tried to rob or Sting-style shortchange me on a college campus. (Though I'm sure that can happen. Campus's are clearly not as safe as we'd like.)

[By contrast, our morning guy at the station was once kidnapped in a botched robbery attempt. Two older guys who'd been drinking all night. When he didn't have any money, they grabbed him. Who knows what they were thinking? They apparently didn't. They ended up in a nearby neighborhood with the kid on the humpty bench seat between them -- a rusty steak knife against his throat -- arguing about what to do. Happily, one of the neighbors, a retired black guy, looked out from his porch picking up his Sunday paper (remember those?), saw the two middle-aged black guys with a Filipino kid between them, reportedly thought to himself, 'That doesn't look right,' and yelled to ask the kid if he was OK. At that point, the kid grabbed the knife at his throat, which broke in half, he scrambled out over the passenger seat guy and out the window and the elderly neighbor hustled him inside and called the cops.]

I still occasionally have nightmares about the time I hosed out the locked restroom that people had been going through the transom to get into to use. For months. [No public restrooms at that time in that part of town. =/ Since much improved.]

There were good things about the job. A lot of times our prices were so high, there was little or no business, I got to play a lot of guitar. I met a lot of nice people. And a lot of desperate, scary people. And everything in between.

But... I'm glad I went through that phase when I was young.
Old 22nd October 2019
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
After dropping out of college for a while, I worked in a self-serve gas station in a very, very rough part of my town for a year and a half in the mid-70s. It was... very interesting.

On careful consideration, I'd rather teach at an academic institution.

No one ever tried to rob or Sting-style shortchange me on a college campus. (Though I'm sure that can happen. Campus's are clearly not as safe as we'd like.)

[By contrast, our morning guy at the station was once kidnapped in a botched robbery attempt. Two older guys who'd been drinking all night. When he didn't have any money, they grabbed him. Who knows what they were thinking? They apparently didn't. They ended up in a nearby neighborhood with the kid on the humpty bench seat between them -- a rusty steak knife against his throat -- arguing about what to do. Happily, one of the neighbors, a retired black guy, looked out from his porch picking up his Sunday paper (remember those?), saw the two middle-aged black guys with a Filipino kid between them, reportedly thought to himself, 'That doesn't look right,' and yelled to ask the kid if he was OK. At that point, the kid grabbed the knife at his throat, which broke in half, he scrambled out over the passenger seat guy and out the window and the elderly neighbor hustled him inside and called the cops.]

I still occasionally have nightmares about the time I hosed out the locked restroom that people had been going through the transom to get into to use. For months. [No public restrooms at that time in that part of town. =/ Since much improved.]

There were good things about the job. A lot of times our prices were so high, there was little or no business, I got to play a lot of guitar. I met a lot of nice people. And a lot of desperate, scary people. And everything in between.

But... I'm glad I went through that phase when I was young.

Wow, did you ever go back to school and finish your degree?
Old 22nd October 2019
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Wow, did you ever go back to school and finish your degree?
tl;dr: yes; no.

I actually took some general requirements at the local community college while I was working at the gas station and then went back to school at the state 4 year school I'd previously been attending full time, that while I was still working at the station. But the year I didn't take classes was pretty much the only time I'd been 'out of school' since I was 4 and a half...

FWIW, I never matriculated -- I called it the 'Steinbeck plan' (Steinbeck went to Stanford, I think, for 5 years, taking what he wanted, never graduating, and ended up with a Nobel Prize for literature).

But it wasn't entirely free form; I was in a 4 year experimental interdisciplinary studies program that mostly got the gen grad requirements out of the way. It was a great program, in many ways, created in large part by the late August Coppola, brother of Francis Ford C (and father of 'Little Nicky' as we knew him around the department office). It wasn't so much the general knowledge I acquired in those classes -- as learning a multi-faceted approach to understanding specific subjects in the context of other subjects -- and how they interrelate in human culture through history.

I took other survey/first-second year courses outside that program, but they were typically boring, so after the first semester or two, I concentrated on only taking upper division classes when possible. The height of my ability to talk my way into classes I wasn't technically qualified to take was when I talked the head of the Psych department into letting me into the major-seniors-and-grad-students-only Cognitive Psychology class she taught -- though I wasn't a psych major nor had ever matriculated in any major. (Got an 'A.')

I had been taking writing courses out of the journalism department when I heard that the community college I'd taken classes at in my 'hiatus' from the uni had a then-pioneering commercial music production program (which closed down about a decade ago when the state mandated a certain percentage of professional uptake of students from vocational programs for funding, IIRC). In the middle of that, I got knocked out of school by a nasty motorcycle wreck but went back the next term on crutches, because, well... I was hooked.

[And, in fact, I did matriculate for that, but it was more to secure the now super-modest-seeming student loan that supported me after disability ran out. But I do have that certificate... somewhere. I'd already been freelancing for a while when I got it. Basically, I went to school to get my hands on the gear, learn and, a bit laughably, to record my old band -- which I did, eventually -- but it was after I'd dropped out of it.]

This may be the closest thing I have to a coherent bio on the web.

Last edited by theblue1; 22nd October 2019 at 08:47 PM..
Old 22nd October 2019
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
tl;dr: yes; no.

I actually took some general requirements at the local community college while I was working at the gas station and then went back to school at the state 4 year school I'd previously been attending full time, that while I was still working at the station. But the year I didn't take classes was pretty much the only time I'd been 'out of school' since I was 4 and a half...

FWIW, I never matriculated -- I called it the 'Steinbeck plan' (Steinbeck went to Stanford, I think, for 5 years, taking what he wanted, never graduating, and ended up with a Nobel Prize for literature).

But it wasn't entirely free form; I was in a 4 year experimental interdisciplinary studies program that mostly got the gen grad requirements out of the way. It was a great program, in many ways, created in large part by the late August Coppola, brother of Francis Ford C (and father of 'Little Nicky' as we knew him around the department office). It wasn't so much the general knowledge I acquired in those classes -- as learning a multi-faceted approach to understanding specific subjects in the context of other subjects -- and how they interrelate in human culture through history.

I took other survey/first-second year courses outside that program, but they were typically boring, so after the first semester or two, I concentrated on only taking upper division classes when possible. The height of my ability to talk my way into classes I wasn't technically qualified to take was when I talked the head of the Psych department into letting me into the major-seniors-and-grad-students-only Cognitive Psychology class she taught -- though I wasn't a psych major nor had ever matriculated in any major. (Got an 'A.')

I had been taking writing courses out of the journalism department when I heard that the community college I'd taken classes at in my 'hiatus' from the uni had a then-pioneering commercial music production program (which closed down about a decade ago when the state mandated a certain percentage of professional uptake of students from vocational programs for funding, IIRC). In the middle of that, I got knocked out of school by a nasty motorcycle wreck but went back the next term on crutches, because, well... I was hooked.

[And, in fact, I did matriculate for that, but it was more to secure the now super-modest-seeming student loan that supported me after disability ran out. But I do have that certificate... somewhere. I'd already been freelancing for a while when I got it. Basically, I went to school to get my hands on the gear, learn and, a bit laughably, to record my old band -- which I did, eventually -- but it was after I'd dropped out of it.]

This may be the closest thing I have to a coherent bio on the web.
Shoot, you should get a bachelors degree for the heck of it. I am sure you could do some online classes and finish. You may not need the degree, but it doesn’t hurt to have one, even if just for show.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #36
I certainly thought about it at one point. I used to sit on the hiring committee for a company I was sales director for. Guys with masters and PhD's came through all the time. I have huge respect for what a good education can do for one -- and one should rightly be proud of a solid academic achievement -- but the experience quickly deglamorized those advanced slices of sheepskin in general.

TBH, the only things I was ever interested in in school were: coeds and learning about stuff I couldn't figure out a better way to learn about. The allure of the former lingers, but propriety (and good sense) finally overtook me in middle age (which I'm well past now). But the latter can often be well-addressed online with a little effort and a lot of curiosity and persistence. And while a discussion forum doesn't have all the charm of the uni quad on a sunny day... it does give one an opportunity for reasoned, intelligent discourse with others interested in the same things. An opportunity, anyhow...
Old 3rd November 2019
  #37
The first, and most valuable, thing I learned in college is that the path to an 'A' is to rephrase your instructors opinions and feed them back to them.

You don't succeed in college by being correct or having valid points or telling truth. All those are totally irrelevant unless you're studying hard sciences; all else is regurgitating biases and harebrained theories in exchange for a good grade. There is no place for integrity or truth here.
Old 3rd November 2019
  #38
Gear Guru
 

I guess that's Iowa for you then, or wherever you went to school.

I disagreed with my teachers and it clearly didn't affect my grades.
Old 3rd November 2019
  #39
I agreed and still got C’s. C’s are passing grades, so I did good!
Old 4th November 2019
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbo King View Post
The first, and most valuable, thing I learned in college is that the path to an 'A' is to rephrase your instructors opinions and feed them back to them.

You don't succeed in college by being correct or having valid points or telling truth. All those are totally irrelevant unless you're studying hard sciences; all else is regurgitating biases and harebrained theories in exchange for a good grade. There is no place for integrity or truth here.
That's certainly an unfortunate college/uni experience.

Certainly, there are some, maybe many instructors like that. And, of course, when one is committed to a major, one must take the course requirements for that major, so there may not be too many options to avoid problem profs and instructors.

I'm happy to say that I often engaged and even argued (in what I hoped was a friendly, collegial manner) with many of my instructors. In the sorts of classes I was taking, I found that incisive, insightful, or even just novel questions or angles of discussion seemed to light up the instructors and make the discussions more interesting and provide better insights into what was being discussed.

But, to be sure, I had the 'freedom' to pick and choose, since I hadn't declared a major or matriculated.

And I did have a few experiences with dogmatic teachers of various sorts (much more, though, before college, while still in a particularly sports-oriented suburban school district where it was manifestly easier for an athlete to get steroids from a coach than it was to get a decent math education from a coach/teacher).

But even at the college level, I had some 'interesting experiences' -- happily, in my case, more the exception than the rule. I remember an Astronomy 100 survey class where the foreign-born instructor dutifully ran through the contemporary astronomical paradigm -- but then, AFTER the basically multi-choice final was handed in and grades were back -- he proceeded to tell us that he HAD to teach us about the Big Bang theory of cosmology -- but he didn't believe ANY of it, since he was a 'born again' religious person who subscribed to scriptural literacy -- the inerrant accuracy of his religion's creation story. But, you know, until that moment, I had no clue. (TBH, his accent was thick enough, I got all my info from the text.) And it was after the final -- and he assured us that the final was based on the text, not his own beliefs. So, you know, all in all, I think he handled that pretty well. But, of course, in another academic environment, he might not have felt so constrained to stick to the science...
Old 5th November 2019
  #41
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JayTee4303's Avatar
You get X minutes on this mudball.

Helping good people find better ways to spend them, is, IMO, a worthy use for some of those minutes.

I'll assume the OP's reasoning and deductive abilities are up to the task, but will toss out a general observation for all... some folks are worth your time, some aren't.

:-)
Old 13th November 2019
  #42
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carlheinz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadforBrad View Post
i think that is part of the problem.

there was a time when those that could did also teach. Almost every great composer taught at some point in time. But there seems to be this false economy where teachers exist as they can't do anything else. At some point, music stopped being a practical topic and become a liberal art. But they don't teach it as such. People that teach arts teach you to think critically. This doesn't exist for music pedagogy, So you get this weird mix of unpracticality. Music schools are becoming a sort of racket.

Some more than others. Learning art is never a waste of time but if you are going to learn it in that manner, critical thinking should be at the forefront. But it isn't.

It is just weird. I mean it is really a unique setting to exist in a university.

The worst are audio schools. I mean at least university has some sort of legitimacy where you do learn history even if you are a performance major. But when you start having all these technical schools that are founded or should be on the basis of practicality and demand lack both. That to me is a racket. They lower the standards to get more students. The result is a breed of students cheated and lied. They know nothing. They don't know that what they learnt has no application until they have paid out. And those schools exist only to fund themselves and their teachers. A technical school should have a direct link to getting jobs. And when you don't, you are a scam.

All those 9 month audio programs are a money making scams. And if you were to look at how these types of schools come into existence. It is never a pedagogical pursuit. It is almost always say a failed studio that realizes, we can't get clients but we can get students to pay to learn. It is dishonest. They never tell you the fact that this education will get you nothing. They will say it is hard but give you this little nugget of hope that pushes you to write that check. And that is not fair to these students that have expectations based on how these schools advertise.
I agree with most of this except where you say the schools should have a direct link to getting jobs and if they don't they are a scam. Some version of that link would be nice or ideal but the recording arts as an industry and the world at large owes us nothing. A direct link to a job in the audio field at best is usually some form of internship...which..might lead to a job however, most studios take full sail advantage of the "free" help from an enthusiastic graduate for as long as possible and then send them on there way through the rotating door the next intern is walking into. Iv'e seen it first hand in n around Los Angeles and elsewhere. On the other side, no matter how much an audio graduate learned in class or even a master class, seem to have that drive as they should yet lack the humility required to start working not so fun long hours and getting their ass kicked as a runner at the job.This is partially due to a normal feeling of entitlement "I graduated from here and studied with so n so on the big SSL" The students don't know in reality you start at the bottom and there are no short cuts just because you got a degree in audio somewhere. It means something on paper. The studio managers get stacks of emails and bios from students all year long. A direct link to employment usually means getting in line and hopefully someone leaves and you move up from making coffee and cleaning the studio toilet .Perhaps I'm wrong but this has been from my observation. No direct link to employment or whats left of the industry that is not thriving
Old 13th November 2019
  #43
I guess it couldn't hurt to have career placement counselling attached to arts education programs... but with regard to our sector, it seems to me that the people I knew from the early 80s two year recording program I went through who ended up working were those who were, themselves, proactive in going out and meeting people, getting known, hanging and helping out (the old form of 'interning') in studios or with pal's live rigs, and, of course, lining up recording gigs. To be honest, more than a few of the students in my classes (more than half, for sure) seemed far too passive to ever get anywhere.

Most of them had to be ASSIGNED recording projects, even though, at the time, the program was very open to people bringing in projects they'd arranged with either other music students or outside musicians... in other words, basically free studio time.

But a lot of these folks had to be ASSIGNED to take advantage of it.

They could have taken a master tape into the studio CR almost any time and practiced mixing -- and many of us did -- but many did not. Too many of my fellow students just sat around waiting for people to tell them what to do. And THAT seemed to point to a broader failure in the attitudes at work int he educational system.
Old 13th November 2019
  #44
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drBill's Avatar
School is there to explain the tools and show you how to use them. Getting a "job" is about personality and persistence. Neither of which a school is equipped to give you.
Old 13th November 2019
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
A direct link to employment usually means getting in line and hopefully someone leaves and you move up from making coffee and cleaning the studio toilet .Perhaps I'm wrong but this has been from my observation. No direct link to employment or whats left of the industry that is not thriving
That is sad and pathetic, but it is what it is.

Other industries that have more money (engineering, technology) don’t treat young people that bad. Sure it’s hard to get into the top tech and engineering companies, but the perks and benefits are more immediate.
Old 13th November 2019
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
School is there to explain the tools and show you how to use them. Getting a "job" is about personality and persistence. Neither of which a school is equipped to give you.
Agreed, for the most part, in today's extant reality.

But from what I've read and heard, I think there's a renewed interest and emphasis on what-comes-next at many academic institutions. More academics are coming to the understanding that there perhaps should be more to a university (or even community college) education that filling one's head with facts, dates, and scientific or aesthetic theories.

Within the last ten years, at the school where I took a two year commercial production course in the early 80s, the music department was forced to close down the recording program (it had been one of the earliest community college recording programs in So California) -- because too few graduates were reporting getting professional work.

To be sure, it's hard to 'teach' personal initiative and the kind of independence (and sometimes raw chutzpah) required to gain working experience in a field like recording, but what's the point of teaching someone a skill set (studio recording) that they're not likely to be able to put to use because they don't have other (arguably teachable) skills they'll need to make use of it?
Old 13th November 2019
  #47
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
That is sad and pathetic, but it is what it is.

Other industries that have more money (engineering, technology) don’t treat young people that bad. Sure it’s hard to get into the top tech and engineering companies, but the perks and benefits are more immediate.
Agreed. but other industries are actually VIABLE with money, contracts and actual opportunity to make money.
Old 13th November 2019
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Agreed. but other industries are actually VIABLE with money, contracts and actual opportunity to make money.
Follow the money!
Old 14th November 2019
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
So... I teach at a university so I see the most disgusting of all the inner circles.

Music professors in academia are perhaps the most self absorbed, dishonest, and pretentious group in the whole musical gene pool. I've never been so disgusted by people in my life and I pity the students who buy into this inbred garbage.

Today I encountered different event involving the same person.
1) A student in my class showed me his theory project and asked why the other professor requested him to change the chord progression from I-IV-ii-V to I-ii-IV-V. I was honest and replied that I had no idea. It really didn't matter much. He replied the other professor commented that "it just worked better that way."
2) Later the same person asked about writing for guitar. I decided to share that most guitarist prefer open-voicings (Drop-2 or Drop-3) instead of closed-voicing. Then demoed some simple examples. The other guy replied... "Well, I'd never write anything with triads anyway."

In other instances I've seen other professors belittle all film score writing as "trite romantic garbage that is based on formulas they teach at film schools."

I've also heard a jazz professor say that students shouldn't just use F min pentatonic over an F7 chord. Instead they should use Bb min pentatonic "because it sounds more like jazz."

I can't take this sh!t anymore. I'd rather work at a gas station than be associated with this garbage.

I can appreciate this perspective because many times I found myself wishing the college music composition education I received in the 80s had prepared me more for the real world. Why it did not, was that it was not focused at all on training composition students to compose, arrange and produce music that industry - corporations, film directors, ad producers, marketing and sales people, and all sorts of other folks were asking for. Even big band jazz was too mainstream and boring. I've heard this same comment over and over through the years.
Old 14th November 2019
  #50
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
School is there to explain the tools and show you how to use them. Getting a "job" is about personality and persistence. Neither of which a school is equipped to give you.

This might highlight part of my point. There are MANY schools who are creating programs without competent faculty to support them (i.e. the tenure professors haven't actually done any serious work in the field, or even contracted in the field). Or professors saying things to students that aren't true, but with the gravitas of their position and with confidence born of inbred academic ego/hubris.

To explain and teach the tools, you have to actually know how they are used in the functional economy. It's pointless if all they teach is rudimentary tutorials without any practical application scenario behind it.

(side note - I can't believe this old ass thread got raised from the grave. The OP was many years ago)
Old 14th November 2019
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerCheeseNPolka View Post
I can appreciate this perspective because many times I found myself wishing the college music composition education I received in the 80s had prepared me more for the real world. Why it did not, was that it was not focused at all on training composition students to compose, arrange and produce music that industry - corporations, film directors, ad producers, marketing and sales people, and all sorts of other folks were asking for. Even big band jazz was too mainstream and boring. I've heard this same comment over and over through the years.
The 'division of labor' between academic institutions that stuck with me decades ago was that two year colleges were best suited to practical courses of study -- learning to do something, typically in a very specific, best-practices-oriented way.

With a four year course of study in a basic college on the same basic subject, there would typically be more investigation into the why of how things were done, a look at the underlying science or other factual framework, some investigation of theory and methodologies.

But a true university setting with post graduate study, that is where the explorative, educational cutting edge would be, potentially developing new theoretical frameworks and even upsetting established paradigms.
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