Saturday, October 5, 2013

Music Ed.

I like to criticize and sometimes satirize bad journalism--that's about 80% of it! But sometimes I run across good journalism like this story in the Wall Street Journal. It is arguing that the old-fashioned, tough as nails, music teacher has a better methodology than the last educational fad. Well, sure. Here is an excerpt:
I had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky, and when someone played out of tune, he would stop the entire group to yell, "Who eez deaf in first violins!?" He made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil.
Today, he'd be fired. But when he died a few years ago, he was celebrated: Forty years' worth of former students and colleagues flew back to my New Jersey hometown from every corner of the country, old instruments in tow, to play a concert in his memory. I was among them, toting my long-neglected viola. When the curtain rose on our concert that day, we had formed a symphony orchestra the size of the New York Philharmonic.
Lots of good things about traditional music instruction: it is all about discipline, mastery and repetition. But it is also about expression and creativity, something she doesn't talk too much about in the article. Still, pretty good essay.

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