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A Musician's Responsibility

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jsingles, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Hello All,

    I wanted to share with you all an interesting thing my music theory professor said to my class today. It was a bit of an eye opener for me personally.

    This morning my professor was very angry because some people weren't coming to class prepared, and he kicked them out of the class, telling them if a musician shows up for a gig without their instrument they are fired, and since they showed up for his class unprepared they are "fired" and must leave. It was all very dramatic, but afterwards he got up in front of the class and in an extremely serious way began to explain why he does not tolerate people who do not take music seriously.

    What he said was this:

    **Not everybody in this world has the gift of understanding music, and for those of us who do, it is actually much more than a gift, it is a responsibility. The world is a MESSED UP place these days, and the people who are going to make the world a better place are NOT the politicians, but the ARTISTS. It is our responsibility as musicians to show people that the world doesn't suck as much as it appears to. We must convey something special to the world through music, because without art and music, there would be very little happiness.**

    Maybe he was just very flustered because of people not taking his class seriously, but for me, and most of my class, it had quite an impact. All of us love music, thats why we choose to devote ourselves to it in one way or another, but I have never really thought about it that way before. For me, and many people, music is more than the thing we do because its fun, it is what can move us to tears, anger, happiness, etc. I find it very profound to think that perhaps us musicians and artists are more important than it can seem today in the world. Can we really have a bigger impact on the world positively than any politician can? I certainly think so. Hopefully we really can change the world for the better with our music.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I just wanted to share.
  2. Howlin' Hanson

    Howlin' Hanson Lighter cabs, please.

    Sep 3, 2007
    Austin TX
    And thank you for sharing that.

    Of course, he could have waited until the end of the semester and flunked them, but if they were a distraction, better to deal with it right away.

    And he's right as well about artists making a difference. Unfortunately, change and impact usually seem to go slowly. But it's about a change in the culture and the way people look at things, so regardless of the speed of acceptance, trying to make an impact is worth the effort.
  3. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Seems like he's not of the opinion that life has satisfying purpose and meaning.

    Though I disagree with his worldview, I would definitely take his side in this argument, that artists and musicians are responsible for their skills. Adding 'beauty' to our world is an awesome potential. By beauty I mean something that gives pleasure by it's very existence, whether classically beautiful, rocking or thought-provoking.
  4. haha yea I think he might just have been in a rotten mood with the whole "the world sucks" thing, but that adding beauty concept is precisely what struck me so much.

  5. +1 :)
  6. wow. thank you.

    let us know who he is so that we have a name for quotes.
  7. bassaficionado6

    bassaficionado6 Something about gumption

    Jan 7, 2008
    Napa, CA
    That's what I hope to achieve with my music.
  8. Dave R

    Dave R

    Sep 21, 2007
    Boise, ID USA
    Worth sharing. Thanks. And I agree.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Your professor is an ass, lacks social, teaching and management skills.

    He needed to put his intentions on the class syllabus so that everyone was forewarned. But no, he makes a public spectacle of the whole deal to put fear and intimidation into the rest of the class.

    Yeah, in his humble opinion. Sounds like delusions of grandeur to me.

    Yeah, and by bouncing out several aspiring musicians (who are paying his salary) from his class, how much happiness is he spreading? If he is such a great professor, how come the entire class didn't know this already? Especially, if it is so important. He's a control freak who wants to keep everyone in line and uses his b.s. "philosphy" to do it.

    Again, he sucks (personally and professionally).
  10. RiddimKing


    Dec 29, 2004
    I'm a musician because I want to make a positive impact on the world, by getting chicks.
  11. I completely agree with the instructor's expectation that students act responsibly and arrive prepared, and that there be consequences if they don't. From that point forward, however, I must disagree with his actions and his statements.

    First of all, he's correct (IMO) to treat students as adults and to expect adult-like behavior from them; but he has to be realistic in his expectations, as well as the consequences he administers. Some students are going to fall short some of the time. Unless he's a brand new teacher, he knows that and should be better prepared to address it with a minimum of class interruption. Pompous drama is unnecessary, disrupting and unproductive.

    Students aren't all motivated by, nor do they all respond to, the same stimuli. Public embarassment and dismissal undoubtedly worked to straighten up some of the students he castigated, at least temporarily; but I'll bet it simply made others decide, if they have the option, to drop his class or at least resolve never to take another class from him.

    It's his job as a teacher to try to motivate and direct students in different ways, to reach as many of those who paid to receive his services as he can. I never favor coddling students or compromising achievement standards; but I also know--as do most experienced supervisors and teachers --that in the long run, public praise works only some of the time and public reprimand, particularly if it includes ridicule, virtually never works. If he'd taken the time to meet with the offending students outside class to discuss/convey the consequences of their lack of preparedness, preferably privately and separately, I think he could have been far more effective--assuming his goal is to teach, rather than to preach.

    And I agree with him that an aptitude for music is a gift, a great gift that is accompanied by a responsibility. But that responsibility extends to ourselves, to those who gave us or loaned us money to attend his classes and, perhaps, to our families and friends. It's not a responsibility to change the world. Whether he likes it or not, each of us is responsible for cultural improvement and that includes everyone: doctors, lawyers, homemakers, clergymen, carpenters, mechanics, etc.--even politicians, not just artists. It's a responsibility that arises from being a human being and a member of society, not from selecting a particular occupation or avocation. It was self-righteous and inappropriate for him to pontificate to your class and suggest that he had some divine insight into the salvation of mankind.

    I do appreciate your sharing it, though. It confirms my belief that I was right to avoid some of the self-important, stuffed shirt professors that I managed to avoid when I was a music theory major.

    Good luck to you.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  12. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I don't owe the world music, I play for myself, i write for myself, if other people dig it, cool if not then oh well. ;)
  13. soong


    May 10, 2007
    Great quotes.
  14. Do musicians make an impact? .. remember the song "We are the World".. Live Aid, Farm Aid, ... The list goes on...
  15. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    I don't have any problem kicking out students who haven't done the prep work. If the class requires some specific preparation than those who haven't done it won't be able to participate usefully, and he'll have spend the session getting them caught up, rather than teaching the rest of the class. He has two options:

    kick out the slackers, and concentrate on those who want to be there.
    keep the slackers, and waste the time of those who have done the work.

    It doesn't have to be confrontational, or publicly embarassing. Just tell those who haven't done the work to spend the time doing the work they should have done BEFORE the session, and make sure they know the work they SHOULD be doing in the session to do afterwards.

    As a student you have a responsibility to yourself, the teaching staff, and the people paying your fees to actually do the work.

    As for musicians changing the word - I don't have a problem with him thinking or even saying it, but it's a pretty childish notion. If you want to make a difference then go do it, but singing about it isn't going to change anything. I don't have a responisbility to "use my gift" - I play rock music in bars.
  16. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Banned

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    I agree with you, kick out non prepped students sure.

    His speech on the responsibility of music however, I find pretentious.
  17. The kid he kicked out had a real attitude, and dressed all "thug" like all the time, trust me, he wasn't an aspiring musician... I am not even sure how he got in in the first place.

    I don't think my teacher is really an ass, he warned us at the beginning of the semester he would be a bastard if he needed to be, but hes actually a very nice man and a really great teacher. His name is Gerald Lloyd.

    Here is his bio

    Bachelor of Music, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, piano performance; Master of Music, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, composition; Doctor of Philosophy, Eastman School of Music, composition

    Professor Lloyd has combined teaching with an extensive career in music and fine arts administration. His appointmenst have included positiosn as assistant dean, College of Fine Arts, Drake University; dean, Conservatory of Music, Capital University; director, School of Music, Ohio University; and dean, College of Fine Arts, UML.

    With extensive experience in music curriculum development, he has served as a consultant on curricular issues at various institutions in the U.S. Professor Lloyd, elected to two, three-year terms as a member of the Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), also served NASM as chairperson of numerous visiting evaluating teams. LLoyd's compositions have been performed by the Eastman-Rochester, Detroit, Kalamazoo and Syracuse symphony orchestras, as well as by the Rockefeller Foundation sponsored readings for the Contemporary Music Ensemble and Houston Symphony Orchestra. His compositions for chamber and solo works have been performed throughout the U.S., including at Georgia State University; Fargo, North Dakota; the University of Colorado; and others.

    Part of why I find this all so interesting is because I knew some people would find it to be harsh and pretentious, and I made this thread partly for that reason. I am very interested to hear what you all think about it! He is certainly a music teacher I won't forget though. Thanks for sharing your opinions!
  18. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    awesome. i wish more professors had kicked out slacker students from classes when i was at university.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    In my day they just threw board rubbers at the unruly kids!! :p
  20. 51m0n


    Jun 30, 2005
    I think he did the right thing, but he does come over pretentious. Maybe he let the passion flow a bit too much in this instance!

    I too wish some of the slackers had been binned at music college, but then there would have only been about 10 of us left :bag:

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