random thoughts for a national holiday

  1. This article by Matt Reed has me thinking quite a bit about what credentials should mean versus what they actually mean. Are the distinctions between the PhD, the DMA, the DME, and the EdD so uniformly pronounced anymore? Do we do people a disservice when we make a big stink about that sort of thing? I am proud of my PhD, but I chose that over the DMA precisely because 26-year-old me viewed it as the Acme, the apex of academia. Nearly-50-year-old me isn’t nearly as impressed.
  2. We’re having some work done on the house. Nothing huge, just adding a shower to our first floor bathroom. Still, it’s been interesting to watch that process. I have zero aptitude for home improvement, and yet now I’m thinking, “Are there any projects I could do?” (Answer: No. My skills lie elsewhere, and Dad, much as he could have used an extra set of hands, was keen enough to recognize that me doing farm work and mechanical work was a bad idea. I have the fine motor skills of eggplant. Besides, David and Brad were good at it.)
  3. I am looking forward to this semester in the classroom, even as it is going to be busy and I have all my assessment and coordinator duties as well. Work on The Why and How of Music Theory continues apace (I have chapters 8 and 9 on my work computer, and need to knock out 10 and 11 before Spring Break), and that has been fun to distill 25 years of teaching and an imaginative curriculum into one document. I’ll also be teaching Intellectual Foundations of Western Music, which I love because there’s just so much richness in the topic, and for the first time I’ll be using Ed Nowacki’s Greek and Latin Music Theory: Principles and Challenges as the text. Ed was one of my professors at CCM, and is one of my favorite human beings. I’ll also be teaching Choral Arranging and Analysis of Popular Music, as well as a couple of composition students.
  4. I get to bust out the alto trombone with the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra! Brad asked me to do Enigma on it, and it will definitely be appearing when we do Beethoven 9 in May. Maybe I’ll try to attend the Pokorny Institute again. I am enjoying performing, especially in an ensemble. Maybe next year I’ll do that solo recital, but only after I’ve finished the opera…
  5. Speaking of which, I was able to write about 3 1/2 minutes last week. I need to make sure in the midst of all this, I carve out time to make this happen. Now that SMT is done, I don’t have any large research project on the table, so back to composing.
  6. “It’s all right to talk about ‘long white robes over yonder,’ in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It’s all right to talk about ‘streets flowing with milk and honey,’ but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968, Memphis, TN (his last public appearance)