a weblog by musician Stefan Kac
I'll post the first response because I have received some feedback privately that I would like to be available here (without atribution, obviously). First, what I wrote about graduate TA's may have been poorly worded. I meant to refer specifically to graduate students specializing in performance who want to gain experience teaching applied music (i.e private lessons) so that they will be more employable as applied teachers at the college level after they complete their terminal degree. In my albeit limited experience at two reputable public universities, I found that there were TA's assigned to each and every instrument/voice, but that most of them had no students to teach. One in particular was purposefully prevented from doing so by the professor (or so it was perceived) for all but one semester out of four. Yes, such students can "gain experience teaching at the college level" by teaching theory or history classes (where there is substantially more demand for TA's), but this will not be nearly as beneficial to them as resume material if they aspire to an appointment as an applied instructor. Where there is both supply and demand (and I guess I can't assume this is true at each and every school), it ought to be easy to provide lessons. I have an idea for a solution, but it needs to be expaded upon in a separate post.Second, it has been pointed out to me that I should not necessarily lay the blame for the policies I criticize in the study at the doors of music department adminstrators, but instead at the doors of the central adminstration of a given school. I identified music departments as the source simply because that was what seemed to be the case at my school, and if I as a music major who at different times sat on both a search committee for a faculty position and the undergraduate advisory committee of the school of music jumped prematurely to this conclusion, it's not a stretch to think that perhaps the students alienated by these policies did the same. Obviously, my suggestions in the study are idealistic; I realize that it's all about money. I should be clear that I am not interested in conducting a witchhunt, but in facilitating increased involvement in music. In hindsight, I suppose I perhaps wrote some things that could be seen as unfair to music department adminstrators, who I would indeed think would be significantly more sympathetic to my suggestions than the survey results would imply. Perhaps their hands are tied.
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