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MARIE GRASS AMENTA has an article on the importance of delegation. “As his son got better, Jerome did too. But Jerome made a discovery about himself; he could delegate and not feel less of a musician or director. His attention to detail could be used to delegate tasks to competent people and then, let them do those tasks. And he continues to operate that way, delegating non-musical details. Being forced into looking at the minutiae differently helped him be a better conductor, musician and person then he was before his son’s illness.”

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GLENN REYNOLDS: Fire Administrators To Fix Higher Ed. “But while the over-generous compensation of universities’ CEOs is what gets the press attention, it’s not the biggest problem. Rather, the drastic cost increases associated with higher education stem mostly from lower levels of administration. For every highly paid president, universities are afflicted with scores of lower-level administrators, often earning in the six figures, who get far less attention. And each of those administrators, of course, has a fiefdom stocked with lower-paid, but more numerous, administrators and secretaries.  How bad has it gotten? Well, we’ve reached the point at which many, probably most, universities have more administrators than they have teaching faculty.

 

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MARIE GRASS AMENTA with some amazing stories on Choral Ethics.

Dougie* started his first college teaching job in as strange a way as I have ever heard.  He interviewed one spring with a nice, four year liberal arts college in the Midwest with a strong choral program. He was charmed by the music faculty, including Monty*, the gentleman he would be replacing due to early retirement. The college owned a wonderful, large choral library and Monty was quite proud of it.

Dougie was hired for the position and excited to get this “dream job.” He, his wife and young child moved into a quaint house in late July, getting settled so he could begin to work on repertoire from that lovely choral library the first week of August.  This was in the days before music libraries were put on spread sheets so everything was organized in a card catalogue. Dougie decided to go in the last day of July, pick up the card catalogue and start browsing.
 
When he opened the door to the choir room, he had a sick feeling.  He found the card catalogue, opened the box and found……..nothing. Well, nothing but a note from Monty.  Monty’s note described how he was being forced into early retirement and would be punishing Dougie for it. How? By taking that lovely music library and hiding envelopes of music ALL OVER CAMPUS!
Pretty amazing. Don’t be petty, folks. It never wins.

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JEFF TILLINGHAST on the changes to touchscreen computing that could affect music.

I met recently with a colleague in a large software company who has been watching the field of digital ink for many generations, and he said that the software and hardware industries hadn’t really fully committed to digital ink in the past because it wasn’t something in which they thought users were particularly interested. As a musician, educator and technologist, this point floored me– how many times have we looked at a file on the screen and wished we could just write directly on it rather than fumble for a way to comment, edit or annotate using the keyboard? I had taken for granted that the desire to write directly on an electronic document was universal, but my colleague’s observation was that the business world (still a major driver of the IT industry) preferred to edit documents by type. His suggestion was that type is “clean” (i.e., professional) and efficient for people to use and share. What his company was starting to realize, though, was that creative fields such as art, design, music, and education, wanted to write freely into a computer precisely because it was messy: the process of designing, creating, annotating and editing is much more about a fluid process than a final product. Where businesses are often more concerned with the professionalism of a final document, a musician is more concerned with personalizing a document to serve an internal purpose: creating a public purpose. This software company’s realization that education and creative/design fields had fundamentally different priorities in working with digital files was leading them to re-commit to designing software that let people use digital ink to collaborate, edit, communicate about and design digital work. Recently I’ve written about two examples of digital ink and handwriting already in the field: StaffPad and NotateMe. These two programs are each very exciting for what they demonstrate about the utility of touchscreen and digital ink for music composition and editing. If this shift in thinking is indicative of a larger industry trend (and I believe that it is), we will continue to see many more promising developments in the coming couple of years that will accelerate the development of software and hardware for digital inking.

I think the difficulty in “marking” music is an impediment for musicians using digital notation, so it will be interesting if technology addresses that.

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RICHARD SPARKS: Remembering Ward Swingle. I like this quote from Bruce Sellers: “Ward could be demanding and wasn’t always diplomatic, in fact at times he was downright unpleasant, but it was always in pursuit of making things as good as they could be.