Rebirth progress (slow)

Yes, I promised a new book riff first by last Wednesday, then by today.

But it’s slow going. To plan and outline this book in a way that’s lively, thorough, and correct — that takes time. So I’m finding myself going offline, and doing what writers and artists always have done. Apply butt to seat, and work.

Time problems are a major thorn in my life. And not only my life, of course. I have more things to do than — short of working 24/7 — I have time for. So…triage. Lately this blog was triaged, and also the comments on it. I regret that, but I also don’t see an alternative.

But, for rebirth of classical music junkies — and really, for anyone who reads me  here — I can offer my Juilliard course, “Classical Music in an Age of Pop,” which I teach every spring. Click the link to read the syllabus, and see the reading and listening I’ve assigned. You yourself can do all this reading and listening, if you’re interested, because all the assignments are online, and the syllabus links to them.

I change the course, to some degree, each year. One thing I’ve done this year that I especially like is prepare some readings on the nature and value of classical music. Ranging from dictionary definitions to things my students have said, and also passages from books defending classical music by Julian Johnson and Lawrence Kramer, and from books by Christopher Small, who’d count as a radical critic of the classical music world.

Comments on this are welcome. As well as suggestions for further readings I might include.

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  1. David Cavlovic says

    My God! Pinchas Zuckerman is STILL around in 3007?!?! I don’t know if that’s good or bad for classical music. A very interesting course, nonetheless.

    Thanks for catching that!

    Yesterday I told my students I’d take them for a ride on a time machine, with a DVD of a classical music TV broadcast from 1956. Didn’t know I was taking them to the future, too.

  2. Janis says

    Just that somewhere in the course syllabus, you REALLY should mention Canon Rock and link to a couple of the videos. That one thing gets the message across so well.

    So many things I could do in the course, so little time! Thanks for the idea.

  3. a curious reader says

    Greg, (or Prof. Sandow?)

    i checked out your syllabus and read some of the articles that interested me at the moment, i’ll catch up with the rest later; but it hit me as i was reading: as a current music student, what can I do to help with this “crisis?”

    I feel that if the culture is going to change, something has to give and for those of us who are going to be dealing with these issues by ourselves in the upcoming years, what should we be doing now to prepare?

    Just call me Greg. That’s what I hope the students will do.

    Good question you’re asking. My quick answer — think of what _you_ really want to do, from your heart, as a musician, and find a way to make that work. Even if it breaks through some of the classical music conventions. Or all of them!

    And then try to reach an audience your own age. Don’t be satisfied with outreach (for example) to public school students, worthy as that is. Find a way to reach people your age who don’t usually pay attention to classical music, because that’s what the entire classical music field needs to do.

  4. Steve Soderberg says

    @curious reader…

    1. The easy part: Read widely & critically.

    2. The hard part: Play your own music, not someone else’s.

  5. Eric L says

    Not to distract any one from Greg’s blog and book, but there is a fascinating discussion going on at another AJ blog–lifesapitch–including a sort of virtual panel of music industry people including PR people, performers, presenters etc. It’s interesting to note and question the attitudes of people in the field and how they view change (with enthusiasm, healthy skepticism, deeply mistrustful skepticism etc.)

    Some very thoughtful stuff that can only augment Greg’s argument and put it in a new light.

    Thanks, Eric. Amanda’s blog is one of my favorites. Always worth reading.

  6. Janis says

    Well, not just someone else’s. :-) I don’t think we teach theory early enough. It’s like languages; we wait until kids get into high school because we think it’s too hard for them to learn languages earlier, when that’s the best time for it. If kids learned a little bit about how music works early enough, I think they’d be more eager to try composition, but that would take teachers who are capable of doing more than pointing out wrong notes. :-(

    And listen with respect to everything. Don’t ever round-file anyone complete type of music.