|ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE||AVERAGE FACULTY SALARIES (ALL RANKS) AT US PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, 2012-2013|
|Business and Management||$104,141|
|Health and Medical Administration Services||$79,292|
|Natural Resources and Conservation||$78,711|
|Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender and Group Studies||$75,919|
|Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Services||$64,736|
|Communication and Media Studies||$59,244|
|Fine and Studio Art||$56,526|
Yes, some musicians like Jay Z or Justin Bieber make fabulous amounts of money, but a music theory professor at a college can't exactly quit his job and start working as a pop star. People in the upper levels of business and management seem to have a lot of mobility, though. Economist Larry Summers, for example, has been President of Harvard University, Secretary of the Treasury of the US, Chief Economist of the World Bank and is now being considered as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve. But what is his actual expertise? What does he do?
I can't think of any examples of composers or theory professors or musicologists moving around like that. Some might gravitate towards administration in the university and some move from one university to another, but usually professors stick to the same university and merely aspire to getting tenure or, if they have tenure, to moving up from assistant to full professor. Not too many want the job of Chair of the department or Dean of a major division of the university. Composers like Philip Glass just do one thing their entire lives.
I'm not quite sure what the lesson to be learned here is, but it is pretty clear that Western societies do not value expertise in music very highly. That's a bit of a puzzlement to me as I personally view expertise in music as a very high value. Higher, on average, than the value highly-paid economists seem to bring to the table. At the end of an economist's career, what does he have to show for it? Is the US or world economy any better? Does the US have less or more debt? Is the unemployment rate better or worse?
But a composer at least has left a body of work that hopefully does have lasting value and will give deep enjoyment to following generations. Isn't that worth more than screwing around with the economy?
Obviously I am profoundly biased and have no understanding of Higher Economics!
Now here's some expertise that you can marvel at. Bach, Cantata 66: