Posted by David Zerkel on April 19, 1999 at 22:04:29:
In Reply to: Re: colleges posted by anonymous on April 19, 1999 at 11:15:39:
Good post, Anonymous.
What the heck...I guess one of us professor types should respond for the record.
It is brutal out there as far as competition goes. If I told all of my students, many of whom play quite well, that they were imminently employable, I wouldn't be able to sleep nights. I've been around the proverbial block in the performance arena and know what kind of very special playing it takes to score the elusive Fill-in-the-blank Philharmonic gig. It is the kind of playing that one must possess a deep understanding of and at the same time have a natural talent and affinity for.
I'm not in the business of squashing dreams. If someone comes to me and says, "I want to do _______." I will tell them what getting to that point entails. If they've got fire in their belly and want to pursue it in spite of the odds, I'll do my best to get them there. I'd have no other choice, because once upon a time not so long ago, that was me.
Do I feel as though I have an obligation to be honest with my students? Of course. Anything less than that would be totally unethical. As a teacher, I've got nothing to gain and everything to lose by filling someone with false hope. In spite of what the current thought is regarding college teachers, we are in the people business. That is the singular best part of my job...and ultimately why I left the fat and happy land of performing.
I went into music because I loved it and it was something that I was good at. (At least I was in High school!) Had I not pursued my dream, I would have sold out on the one and only chance that I get to live my life. There are no "do overs". If I had failed, life indeed would have gone on, just in a different direction. It's not all about the destination...it's all about the journey. Would I have been a failure had I never played a lick in an Orchestra or never taught a lesson? No. I would have been richer for the experience of trying my best at what I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to do. Then I would have sponged off of my wife like a rabid parasite! ;)
Just thought I'd throw in a look from the other side. I know how easy it is to be jaded and cynical about our profession...we should all resist the temptation to "save" other people's lives. We only get this one try........