Re: Education: Who Needs It?

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ TubeNet BBS ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by js (long) on December 30, 2001 at 17:40:50:

In Reply to: Education: Who Needs It? posted by David on December 30, 2001 at 16:12:12:

a few more provocative questions:

- What percentage of professorial performance-teaching musicians with "Dr." in front of their names (probably paid $45,000 and up) have the abilities to perform on their instruments as well as "entry level" ($15,000 - $25,000 per year) symphony orchestra musicians?

(The key word throughout this series of questions is "percentage", as their are MANY exceptions to the answer to this rhetorical question.)

- What percentage of professorial performance-teaching musicians with "Dr." in front of their names are motivated to practice enough to "improve" and "surpass" beyond past "personal best" benchmarks (not to mention "maintain")?

- What percentage of their time do average professorial performance-teaching musicians with "Dr." in front of their names spend engaging in "political" activities verses "productive" comparison to average "non-Dr." symphony orchestra musicians?

- What percentage of government work is "equal to" or "better than" work done in the private sector? [and in particular] What percentage of the BEST government work is "equal to" or "better than" the BEST work done in the private sector?

- Would the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform to the standards that it does today if every member was required to have "Dr." in front of their name and if they were required to adhere to all of the same hiring profiles stipulated by government bureaucracies?


I'm a strong believer that those who who TEACH well must be able to > DO < well. Provided one does have good communication skills, the better one DOES the better one can TEACH what ones does. Seeminging contradictory, even with poor teacher communication skills, some of the most motivated students still learn better from an extraordinary MODEL verses learning from an extraordinary COMMUNICATOR.

The finest music schools in the country rarely have degree requirements placed on their faculty members. Instead, they have (like symphony orchestras) requirements of ability and credentials. > In the NON-musical world also, hiring corporations and other businesses are paying far less attention to degrees and far MORE attention to abilities and achievements. < I am in favor of (whenever possible) having performance-teaching faculty at major learning centers (universities and the like) come from the performance community and be adjunct (part time). Other peripheral (peripheral meaning "about music" faculty: history, theory, education, appreciation, etc.) probably would need to be full time. As much as we like to see musicians have their jobs be as "large" (time and money) as possible, when universities try to hire single individuals to "wear two hats" (examples: a trumpet-teaching theorist, a violin-playing historian, etc.) these schools often end up with people who carry out neither of their jobs in a remarkable fashion. THAT is why I like the idea of local symphony musicians (and other local professional performers) being hired as adjunct faculty. Large bureaucratic educational institutions, by definition, MUST "sell" the view that obtaining their degrees is the main objective to seeking their services. Otherwise, too many people would duck in and out of their bureaucracies and only purchase what the "consumers-students" viewed as necessary and the income of these large institutions would suffer. (Am I correct with this particular example mentioned recently?: Warren Deck and endless other "top drawer" professional performers are examples of this type of "Take what I need" educational consumption.) Again, by hiring outstanding adjunct faculty in the performance field, not only do colleges and universities often end up with better studio teachers, but the struggling regional symphony orchestras with small budgets are then able to hire even better players to fill their vacancies, due to the new play-teach packages that can offer living wages.

My own grandfather (approx. 1885 - 1975), who left the wheat fields and coal mines of Kansas to end up as a community leader, church elder, philanthopist, and bank vice president, had no "college" education (and I'm fairly sure that he did not have a 12th grade education). However, his mastery of mathematics, the verbal and written English language, knowledge of current events, politics, scientific disciplines, and his general CUROSITY OF KNOWLEDGE dominated his life - even though he had to care for two aging adult children (one with epilepsy and one who was deaf and otherwise disabled) until his own later years. Our myopic view that "education" is a thing to be consumed only at "education-distributing Walmarts/K-Marts" is to our detriment societally, in my view.


Yes, this post is controversial and might step on some toes. I would be far more interested in reading other's "big picture" ideas placed under David's main post rather than comments on this sub-post. Comments and flames are certainly welcome below, but endless individual examples of outstanding government employeed and terminally-degreed professors who teach peripheral classes and perform and teach extraordinarily well, as certainly hundreds if not thousands of these do, would not be - in my view - particularly interesting (and certainly examples of the opposite are totally inappropriate) and would be a distant tangent to David's main inquiry/point.

Follow Ups: