Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 12 (Round IV) "In the trenches": quick-hits edition

Quick hits on the day--too long and too tired for a full post. Coming up: the final "presentation" day of the Acadian trip, thoughts on exam philosophies and practice, a source-list of performance-studies scholarship, another on Anglo-African musical scholarship.

8am: Dharmonia for routine procedure to clinic. Pay a $60 deductible and be reminded again that anybody who opposes significant health-care reform in America is saying, in essence, that the poor don't deserve to live as long or as healthy as the rich.

10am: Teach Dharmonia's Freshman section, in a class I originated and still really dig teaching. Give them 25 minutes on "African retentions" in American music (including but not limited to: a preference for polyrhythms; a preference for ensemble-style textures, even in the work of solo players; the use of call-and-response textures; instruments imitating the timbres and inflection of the voice; use of improvisation) and then ram them through another 25 minutes on pan-global approaches to teaching quite-sophisticated concepts of rhythm: West African (interlocking parts), Near Eastern (rhythmic cycles and drum syllables), North Indian (bols and tala).

11:15am: back to check on Dharmonia. Spend much of the rest of the day sitting in an uncomfortable clinic chair, thanking my stars for accessible (if slow) wireless access. Get about three different student papers or abstracts edited, do a good deal of scheduling and division-maintenance, finish prep/polish of the two lectures for tomorrow (though it's not done yet).

3:30pm: chauffeur home. Cook some food. More division-maintenance.

7pm: in to school to teach 1st iteration of 2-part "jump-start" for grad students prepping for history portion of various forms of exit exams: Master's oral, PhD and DMA written qualifying. Grad students take exit exams near the end of every semester--that means that at the beginning of every semester, there's some group of students who massively benefit from some focus upon smart study, prep, and practice techniques. It's surprising--or should be surprising--how many students get into a grad program without ever having the opportunity, inclination, or resources to actually learn how to study. I always begin these jump-start sessions with a disclaimer apologizing for any redundancy or over-simplification, but (it's my impression) that same typically occurs--mostly they're a little or a lot set back on their heels with a realization of just how much there is to learn.

8:30pm: home to check on Dharmonia, answer more emails, provide more editing and critical feedback for various local and distant friends and students. Cook some food for Dharmonia, prep some food for tomorrow (which starts at 9am and goes until 9pm).

10:30pm: finish this blog post, hoping to have conveyed the reasons for its brevity.

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