Volume 38

(WITH APOLOGIES TO JONATHAN SWIFT) The Governor Has an Idea The day before sitting down to write this, I heard over our local NPR station an interview with the Governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, who was announcing that he would propose a new initiative to his state's legislature. He had…
This will be my last contribution to this space. The idea is seriously humbling, since it is not only difficult to know how to use the space, this time in particular, but it makes one feel that whatever ought to be said had better be said right now—last chance! First…
Umbrellas protect us from the rain, parasols guard us from the sun, and parachutes allow us to float safely to solid ground. All of these protective tools help us deal more effectively with our environments. Long before CMS began selling dark blue umbrellas at the national Convention in Cleveland, The…
Living in the Age of Accountability: Its Impact on Music Units Nothing in memory has affected the working life of the university faculty member more than the current national appetite for accountability in higher education. Faculty workloads are undergoing scrutiny as the public continues to question whether it is getting…
There is much talk these days, in literary and artistic critical theory, about "difference" and "the Other." We worry about the ways in which Western culture has set up monolithic, hegemonic value structures and has marginalized whatever does not fit its models. In the bad old days of Western colonialism…
In one week not long ago, I attended four local performances, and they forced me to reflect on the musical world in which we live and teach. The first was Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! The second featured world music percussion ensembles—Balinese gamelan, Brazilian samba group, and steel drums. The steel…
A favorite teaching piece of mine is Felix Mendelssohn's Lobgesang. It's sometimes called Symphony no. 2, but it's not really a symphony. The composer called it “symphony-cantata,” which describes it precisely. The piece has to do with learning. Mendelssohn composed it in 1840 on commission for the city of Leipzig's…
1 tsp. constructive commnents from colleagues 2 tbsp. evaluate student outcomes 3 oz. feedback from students 4 cups rewawrd when warranted 5 lbs. collaborative spirit and participation from peers           We all value teaching. We say so and we practice it in the classroom. Why then,…
Several years ago, this newsletter carried an essay by John Buccheri inviting involvement by music faculty in a new national project on peer collaboration and review of teaching. Coordinated by the American Association for Higher Education, the project (which I directed and which John joined as a member of the…
Just over three hundred years ago, a European man wrote to a friend to say that he had attended a concert the night before. He hadn't understood one note of it, he said, because there was no tenor. Can't you just imagine a letter written about 1950 in which someone…
In many colleges and universities, promotion and tenure recommendations proceeding from the music unit are subject to critical review by non-music faculty and senior administrators. The following observations are intended to offer discipline-specific clarifications and interpretations to assist such non-musicians in forming equitable evaluative judgments. Music faculty, along with all…
One of the most important jobs we undertake beyond our work in the classroom, studio, or rehearsal hall is the hiring of faculty. Over the next seven months hundreds of college teaching and administrative positions will appear, and across the nation we will perform collectively the anthropological dance of finding…