Sometimes I get things really wrong. As I did in my last post, when I quoted a tweet about Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize:
Just help me come to grips with the fact that someone can be a good enough musician to win a Pulitzer Prize, but not qualified to gain entry into the undergraduate music ed program at my school.
I more or less took for granted that this tweeter was attacking the award, saying that Lamar has no musical knowledge. I replied to that, as you can see in the post, saying that there were many kinds of musical knowledge, and that people with standard classical music training don’t know what Lamar knows.
So then the tweeter wrote a comment on my blog, correcting me. He’s Adam Kruse, Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Where (as the school’s website says) he “teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in music education primarily in areas of popular music and music technology.”
Meaning that far from not knowing — or, as I wondered, even knowing about — the musical knowledge Lamar might have, he teaches precisely that knowledge. Since I’d talked about the digital technology used in popular music.
In his words
Here’s what Adam wrote (I’m making a blog post out of his comment, with his permission):
Hello, Greg. My apologies, but you have misinterpreted my message. My problem is with my school and degree program’s admission policies and practices. I am actually well aware that our current settings serve as a barrier to Hip-Hop musicians (and many others, likely the Indian classical musician as well) and I am working every day to change that. In no way am I saying Kendrick doesn’t have musical chops. His chops far exceed those of most (if not all) of my current students. I am thrilled with Kendrick’s award. Almost all of my professional life has been dedicated to better understanding Hip-Hop musical learning; helping music teachers to meaningfully engage with Hip-Hop culture; and working to improve equity, inclusion, and relevance of school music spaces. I don’t disagree with the premise of your blog post, but I do want to point out that my point was basically the exact opposite of how you have interpreted it. My apologies.
To which I replied:
My apologies back to you! And wow — I’m so happy to have been wrong. I tried to write in a way that didn’t absolutely suggest you held views that you’re making clear that you don’t. But I’m sure what I wrote came across as if I thought you didn’t understand the points I went on to make.
Thanks so much for coming here to correct me, and for doing it so gently. Big mistake on my part, and, again — I’m so happy to have been wrong.
He then very graciously said:
I guess it’s a lesson to write with more clarity in social media spaces. I can totally see how one could read my comment in the way you did. Honest mistakes all around. At the end of the day, I’m with you 100%!
So he’s a mensch, and I was hasty. I love when this happens. Two people who start out with a misunderstanding end up with warm communication. All Adam’s doing. I’m grateful to him. And happy to set the record straight.