Highlights and Lowlights: Fourth Grade | 04/12/04
Hello Fashion Institute of Technology. I don't think I know anyone that attends such a facility but I appreciate all your hits. Although I felt really good about my presentation last night it was a disaster today. In my humble opinion, I don't think I've seen more than two that I would consider to be better but apparently it was pretty lousy. My initial plan of having the co-presenters give their material midway through mine leading to a grand finale was disabled by the fact that co-presenter 2 didn't even come to class until 10 minutes into my presentation AND his work was identical to my gloss-over coverage. I was also unaware we were required to meet with Dr. Rogers beforehand. The sad part is that I don't care. I should feel ashamed of my sub-par performance but I just don't care. I feel like a freshman vocal-performance major in theory fundamentals. Do I need this? Hell no. The material is to the point where it just tells you even more about great pieces. They're already great! No one cares if you find something new about them. And god forbid you look at a lesser-composer/piece because no one cares since its not a great master. How many times can people look at the same 50 masterworks? Sure, every 25 years a new one gets added and a new tool is developed to analyze but that piece was already going to become great anyway by the performances of it. I'm really starting to get irritated by the theoristectic attitude of "if it can be written, I can figure out how". Well, guess what; you can't. You can only figure out what we give you and you can come up with all the facts and figures you want to explain it but even if you can tell me what set class was the initial and all the derivations of it, tell me why I picked it in the first place. Because of its special properties? That's it? Special properties? That's why theorists love atonal music--because there doesn't have to be any discussion of music. Sure, the notes are explained--how to get from point A to point B and I'm sure they'd be happy to make graphs showing how I was able to come up with the pattern for dynamics and rhythmic durations but the problem arises when they take these tools, that are intended for analyses and start to think that the structure was built around the tools. The WORST is when, after finding these "tools", they start to "compose" with them. It's such a backwards way of thinking that it's no wonder why the music of many theorists sounds like crap. I'll be the first to admit that they can do some pretty amazing and fascinating things with the notes and I have nothing but respect for all the clever ideas but where's the damn music? Ellen Zwillich was right with the corpse quote (your music like a corpse with make-up on, etc). The music isn't in the notes as much as all of the other aspects that aren't easily quantifiable. My problem is that I think it's interesting. It's interesting from the standpoint of me liking to take apart radios. Sure, I can see how it works but unless it's plugged in and turned on, it's just a heap of wires and plastics decorated for the teenage masses. I'm not saying that every theorist is the spawn of the devil and a lot of them are doing some very, very good things that are extremely beneficial to music on the whole but I think a number of them have lost touch of what exactly their role is.
In other news, Dr. Clendinning and I just sat around and she listened to me complain about everything that was on my mind for a good 45 minutes in exchange for my listening about her daughter's college possibilities. I felt a lot better after I talked to her. Most of my rant was about my stupid decision to come to FSU despite all the lies that were spun in the recruitment process.. I'm just counting the days until I'm done. I'm not sure I'd even want to stay here if the steel band job opened up. I really am starting to hate everything about this program and would like nothing more than a new start.
Highlight: Fourth grade was a really great year and I have so many stories I don't even know which ones will make the cut. My fondest memory is probably just playing football after lunch with this mini Bears football. I remember ripping the quartz off the side of the school with Tim Smyser and keeping it my school box. I also started band this year and I was too small and weak to carry my set of percussion equipment so Tim always carried it for me. What a guy. In music class, our teacher, Miss. Butterfield insisted we sing this one song for what seemed to be the billionth day in a row. When she told us this I rolled my eyes at her before slouching in my chair. She said to me, "Mike, just because you find music boring doesn't mean the rest of the class does." To you, Miss Butterfield, booyah. That wasn't a very good highlight. I made a map out of potatoes of Illinois with my mom's help. It was on display for a little while but now God only knows where it is.
Lowlight: Oh man, there are so many and they're all so funny! I guess the first one is when Sara Fawbush got up to ask our teacher, Ted Heinrichs a question I dumped my entire glue squeeze bottle all over the seat of her chair. She somehow didn't see Elmer Sea before she sat down and only after it had seeped into her pants did she start screaming. She ran up to Mr. Heinrichs and he asked me if I had seen who did it since my desk was behind hers. I fingered Tom Dudley, who was sent to the principal's office. Booyah Tom Dudley! Also in 4th grade I had received this really cool tarantula puppet on a string at Jackie Leitz's birthday party and I brought it with me everywhere I went. One day I was playing with it in class and Mr. Heinrichs took it away from me and told me I'd get it back after college. I went back in the summer of 2001 on the long shot he might be there but he wasn't. Damn, I miss that thing.