Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 26, 1999 at 15:11:15:
In Reply to: Re: Performance vs. Education posted by Patrick Sheridan on August 26, 1999 at 09:02:33:
That is a very interesting perspective Patrick! Actually, there is a certain logic to having a student pursue a course of study other than performance with the idea of ending up as a performer. They say the best steel comes from the hottest fire...
My suggestions in this matter come from my own experiences in the two universities I attended as well as what I see at the two I currently teach at. My impression is that degree programs, whatever the course of study, are demanding. Such large scale time commitments would logically leave less time for other things. I would venture to guess that performers who make it through a non-performance related degree would, at the very least, be exceptionally efficient in the practice room by necessity.
I think the only fundamental disagreement we have is our assessment of the performance degrees we possess. I was a little shocked to hear your low opinion of the two degrees you hold from such prestigious schools as Northwestern and Arizona State. I always looked at it from the other side of the coin, that being that these degrees, while not being an automatic ticket to employment, are underappreciated in the extreme for their difficulty. Pursuing a performance degree at any major university still affords the student the chance (and in many cases requires them) to takes courses in other disciplines. I know that while my performance degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois are not as academically demanding as more traditional degrees, they were certainly tough enough to get! I guess in my case I don't feel the performance degree is a cop-out because for me only half of your sentence was true: "I need more time to practice." Outside of the practice room I had to study plenty hard! This led to a real sense of accomplishment at graduation and the feeling that I left college with something much more valuable than a "shingle" to hang on the wall: a well rounded education.
I loved your comments about teaching, they are dead on accurate. I watched the same masters of teaching as you did, I'm sure, and their work speaks volumes in my playing to this day. I tried to get lessons from as many different teachers as possible as a way to study the art of teaching. I constantly find it amazing how much can be learned from every teacher I meet.
Thanks for the fresh perspective!