Jace-BeOS wrote:Struggle tends to make the average person demand that everyone else struggles the same way/amount they did. When most people see someone else having some kind of success (or sharing an opinion) without clear indication of having earned it through hard work, well, there's often attitude.
Well, in music school there is no faking it.
Have you ever encountered someone like me in such a place? As in, they had a learning disability that ended up driving them out, despite a sincere interest in the education?
That can't read music, you mean? No.
jancivil wrote:There are people, I have to suppose from my Music History Professor, who decide on an academic thrust but you have to write your theses in order to get the requisite piece of paper to be there.
So it's kind of a twist on "those who can, do; those who can't, teach"... by adding: "except not when teaching requires proof of actual ability". (?)
Well, that guy liked that area which made the curriculum unbearable for me (not in and of itself but we had spent two-thirds of the entire course 'Music History' and we had maybe moved into the 16th c), perhaps to the exclusion of other things so I can only speak to the one motivation. He could have performed very well as a singer in a Roman Church Polyphony original music ensemble for all I know. Not seeing him as a player, with that perverse a focus for the course. But this was *not* music theory, this was a history course and the downside of 'Honors' matriculation for me. Writing essays on why this composer sounded different than another composer, well it was all a blur to me at that time. I was of average maturity for my age, and I wasn't the only person bored to death.
jancivil wrote:OTOH in the performance major, back then (world has changed since) you could bring other skills to bear.
Do you mean that demonstrating an aptitude for performance might allow a person to get by with deficits in other areas?
That's taken out of context: see what I said about my guitar professor. She got there by being around the scene for a long time, and having social skills; with a focus on pedagogy. So they had this guy:
When I applied. He was fired, according to Clare. For being a no-show too frequently. He was pretty young then, establishing a concert career. But that left Clare to head the program. Guitar was not big then. Neither Juilliard nor Curtis even had guitar programs at the time.
Side note: that's part of the suite I played all of for my grade at end of my freshman year. I received an A from Henry Meyer. Which upon reflection is a bit of a surprise.
jancivil wrote:My guitar professor was 'Associate Professor' status who had some bona fides organizing this and that and being people's faithful assistant and being in the scene for a long time, not because she was some great player.
But was her instruction skill what it needed to be? Per the thread: did you observe any elitism in people who were aware of their own limits? Some people who are aware of their limits can go to one of two extremes: be self-destructively humble, or be defensively/offensively arrogant.
I would say she's probably a better teacher than most. Last I looked she's still there. It's been 40 yrs.
Accomplishment on the instrument may end up providing one with no particular tools for putting up with teaching, or conveying to another person how they got there.
I abhor the use of the word elitist unless we're talking politics, note well. It's a heavy word and there is no call for it. The gatekeeping at a serious school means you bring a package at entry that may indicate your ability to handle the coursework. (NB: I was not admitted to UNC Chapel Hill, because I had never completed any high school coursework.*) The use of the word in this area of discourse is itself defensive; every time I see it someone is showing resentment at people who have standards they don't want to have to meet. I'm not a gatekeeper anywhere on planet Earth. I don't think people that want to do less should vault themselves up to equality status, so I'm a snob. I don't care about the word snob. "Elitist" is doing too much IME.
A good example: I jammed once with Paul Hanson. He's among the veritable elite, & he's living the dream. That doesn't stop me from doing what I can, or me being me.
No one at a serious school can afford to be defensive.
Clare never said anything particularly good about what I presented. At a certain point what I would get was "I have nothing to say." which means her assessment was I had pretty much nailed it. What certain people here do_not_get is this is what you want. Not stroking, not coddling. So when I played 'for jury', I was prepared.
Students, I'd expect, would be all the more apt to have such extremes, since they're probably made to feel they're competing against each other (more than any instructor would need to compete against their workplace peers).
Look. The people in the performance major, at least until they realize something later, are matriculating that way believing they're going to enter the world as a player. They may, or may not be there to get that piece of paper as Plan B. So, guitar is an outlier. Pure soloists are rare. People are there to get their shit together enough to eventually go out and audition for orchestra jobs. It's highly competitive. I suppose you'd see some of this along the way in school auditioning for an elite school orchestra; or be the star of The Magic Flute as coloratura soprano.
I don't know what extremes you're talking about, except in Mr X's account. Those people are not serving themselves well in a really serious music school; if they have that quality of attitude, they're not going to last.
The whole account is dreadful, and has not a lot of bearing on the big old world as a whole.
Here's my anecdote: in the guitar program, I had my shit together musically (incl. technically) more than the others. Yes, all the others during my first year (this does not mean I was all that good). So when Clare decided to get a tour of southern Ohio (to high schools, other colleges, and some other venues) together for the Classical Guitar Ensemble, I was made leader of the ensemble. Was there resentment? Not that I was aware of, and I'm pretty sensitive. What I'm really trying to convey here is that the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where someone from the top down of their own egoistic self-assessment believes they have sussed it all and the others are inferior, can't work in this environment. You know where you are in order to be where you are. You can't not know. You won't be tolerated. Is that elitism? It is not. One may call it gatekeeping, fine; esp. if one likes a slightly pejorative sense.
jancivil wrote:So what I saw here, and this is not per the OP necessarily, was this old resentment of people who do more. I don't know what their struggle was, but I know what it takes to compete in order to get yourself into place in an environment conducive to the most growth.
I don't think it was easier for anybody unless it was by dint of their natural ability. But I know this about that, that when you do show that kind of talent, there are expectations of you. There is pressure. People are not allowed to be the normal kid if they are placed on the track to that kind of success. Some people cope 'better', or differently than others. Some people who because virtuosi, their parents did not make them do it. What do you think a Steve Vai did to be Steve Vai? Whether or not you appreciate the result. It is a daily struggle. It is a sacrifice.
I think that this is all very cogent. My personal perspective, when encountering people who've focused their whole lives on one skill or skill set, has usually been to interpret it as unhealthy. Self-harm. Too much pressure for healthy living (especially people who train from childhood to be Olympic stars).
But that's MY perspective. I was never encouraged to value skills or interests that aren't seen as inherently financially practical (interests in the arts were seen as an extravagant risk to financial security). My own struggles weren't rewarded in school or at home, so I developed no feeling that struggle (beyond the survival extent) was worthwhile. My life experiences repeatedly compounded this inadvertent lesson. The sad fact is that my youth was the right time to take such risks.
So people who were encouraged to struggle to get what they wanted, who had both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, probably had a much healthier outlook, despite my viewpoint on struggle. The struggle was real, and it cost them, but they earned something.
My parents did not endeavor to prepare me for the world at all.
I dropped out of high school after a couple of months, it was a PITA in a big way for me to even be in school - all along - and finally I'm old enough not to have 'truancy' to worry about.
*: So I had one way to go to school, music school. I woodshedded like crazy and after a couple of years I was a viable candidate for the audition. This btw is why I always convey the stories with the disclaimer: I was always going to be a day late and a dollar short. But I had nothing to lose, except some half-hearted attempt to train for a trade? What trade. I was hopeless. I have lived my life like an idiot because I don't know how to do anything else in this world but worry about music.
I wasn't thinking about it like this at the time, but I was preparing myself to be a skydiving composer.
I certainly experienced discomfort around "high effort" people if they've used their efforts as a justification to be jerks. If they've been unjustly critical of me or just plain had bad social skills, sure, I won't get on with them. Usually I avoid that type. It's one big reason I don't want to go back to IT: technical people seem to trend toward a higher percentage of social skills deficits. Musicians are technical people, right?
Though, again, in IT, I found more deficits in the other workers than I found great skill. People often functioned more from a social engineering stance than from displaying actual skill on the job. The most skilled and informed/experienced person I met in IT had zero hostility or arrogance. He just loved the work and was happy and eager to use his knowledge, including by sharing it with the rest of us. He was generous and never once demonstrated any kind of info-hoarding behavior.
That's how the photography instructors were at the art program I mentioned above. It's almost like such people are apt to be displaced and kicked out of their jobs because of being generous...
jancivil wrote:When I say certain things here, I get this 'You're the most arrogant person I know' and shit like this. Well, you cannot be arrogant and set yourself on a path towards excellence and get anywhere. It is humility; it is the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger Effect case, you know quite where you are vis a vis your surroundings.
False modesty is insincere by definition.
When Steve Vai was referenced earlier (what you responded to), my interpretation of that original comment was that it was used as an example of a person at his school being a poser; expecting that attitude would get them to Steve Vai level (or who thought they already possessed it, despite demonstrating a failure to work well with others). I didn't see it as criticizing Steve Vai (or someone who sincerely aspired to that level of expertise).
Not all or even most of my remarks are directed at the original post. This one doesn't really even apply to it.
So there were people at the school in Denmark that sought to shut him out. That's kinda weird, it's a weird story.
It being the only school around made it that way. So yeah, that's not the world, that's the one place. Thinking you're something you're not doesn't work but so far. In the competitive music conservatory environment (and this also means working well with others at some level is needed; I'm a solo act kind of person. And I had to lead the ensemble. She made 'an ensemble to tour and perform regularly' for a reason. Life skills.), FAIL.
(After I'd already posted once or twice, I objected to the tone of the original post, and to it as bait for flames. In context of KVR where there is demonstrably this division ('play an instrument, damnit' versus "producer" who never did and thinks it's some old bullshit). So we only got a couple of those people. Bit of a surprise really. So I'm the tone police? Maybe other tone can be set past the OP, and I don't mean my post. So my fears were not fully borne out. Good.)
Thanks for your thought-filled post.
edits: formatting nested quotes fuckup, my apologies...