ain't baroque! :||
Don't Fix It

How dare you not answer my question!

Well I dare say. I think you guys had a pretty strong reaction to Monday’s video lampooning music majors. In the past not even two and a half days it’s been up the page has received almost 100 hits.

I say think, though, because I tried to get you all to tell me about your reactions and garnered almost no response. One person retweeted the link with the note “Not sure how I feel about this.”

Understandable: the video does suggest that music majors are not the most dedicated lot. However, rather than stew in your dismay, I encourage you to let it out. That’s what your therapist would recommend, I’m sure.

Don’t fret – I’m giving you another chance, and this time I’m adding more provisos so that you have something more concrete to work with than just “What do you think?” Here goes:

Define “music major.”

Think the video is pretty accurate? Whip up a definition that reflects that. Think it was a gross misrepresentation? Well, right the wrongs! Tell me what the phrase “music major” means to you, whether you do it in the comments, on Twitter, or via email, by next Wednesday at 9 am. I’ll post them, and the most clever one (in my opinion ’cause it’s my blog) will receive the Well Played! Ain’t Baroque Medal of Violar, which by then will have been fully explained.



About Jenn

Despite being the former digital marketing intern at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jenn German does not like Mozart. Beethoven could've totally beaten him up. Also she has an arts management graduate degree from American University, but this changes nothing.


8 thoughts on “How dare you not answer my question!

  1. I am not sure I want to define music major, but I have some graphic arts major students who must *think* they’re music majors (according to guidelines in this video).

    My observation is that in reality most music majors work as hard, or harder, than any med student – at least those who are practicing hours a day in addition to keeping up other classes.

    Posted by Sheri | May 5, 2010, 12:13 pm
  2. I suspect “music major” carries the same stigma that “art major” or “creative writing major” has. I started college as an art major and I got a master’s degree in creative writing, and I was constantly asked, “but what do you DO with a degree in that?” or “Oh, so you’re going to be a teacher, then?” As if that’s the only job you can get with those skills.

    If people think they are easy degrees to get, they are mistaken. You constantly have to produce creative work and find your own style, and better and better creative work at that, and then develop a thick skin since your creative work will regularly be judged and criticized.

    And there’s far more history and theory to learn in these fields than people realize. Not to mention that I probably spent more hours working on a painting or revising a novel than people might spend memorizing theorems or body systems.

    Don’t knock it ’til you try it, I think.

    Posted by Cate | May 5, 2010, 1:53 pm
  3. I am a musician and even though I was never a music major; I took offense to it for those who are/were. People often refer to book smart people as brilliant. I feel just as strongly that Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Maurizio Pollini are brilliant as well!! You can be a music major and make a difference in this world. I can’t imagine my life without music…

    Posted by Christine Petrolati | May 5, 2010, 8:40 pm
  4. Allow me to say, first and foremost, I did NOT create the video – simply shared it with my favorite blogist (blogsporter?). This video has actually been around for awhile apparently. Many of my colleagues commented they had seen this before…

    I had not, and was MOST amused (and saddened) by its encompassing accuracy of the “training” (really: experiences) a majority of incoming freshmen have, as well as the attitude of entitlement and/or the perception incoming freshmen CAN have regarding the complexities of majoring in a music degree program.

    This is certainly NOT uncommon as the music major path IS somewhat of an anomaly (compared to other degrees) in that it requires dedication from DAY 1. Music majors take Theory/Aural Skills/Piano/Studio/Ensembles/Recital Attendance courses their first semester… And if you compare that to the bulk of other freshmen seeking degrees – it usually isn’t even close to the amount of “required courses” in the 1st (or even through the 4th) semester of study.

    This video did not, in my opinion, make fun of music majors. I believe this is a common viewpoint (of many faculty) on incoming students who really do not have a full grasp of the commitment it task to be a successful music major student.

    On a side note: That “peace out” thing at the end makes me laugh every time. I’ve started doing it to my students.

    (Maybe that’ll spark some more Jenn! ;))

    Peace out –

    Dr. Carney

    Posted by Dr. Carney | May 6, 2010, 12:01 am
  5. I have a BM and MM in music and all I remember of school is being tired and the four walls of my practice room. In undergrad, I was the one who stayed up late working every night including weekends, while my pre-med friends were out partying…..hmmmm But having said that, there are two types of music majors: Those who work themselves to the bone and those who slide by with almost no effort at all.

    Posted by Jamie Jean | May 6, 2010, 10:52 am
  6. Define Music Major…

    I have always believed that majoring in music is actually a double degree. The student is committing to studying MUSIC. Music theory (the language of music), Aural Skills or Ear-Training (the audition and auditory identification of music), and piano skills (the physicality of music or “touching and seeing” music physically) make the cornerstone of a music degree. This, accompanied with ensemble and studio training, complete the formative years of the music degree.

    The “double major” part comes in the form of the “other” choice a student makes as an incoming major. For example, a music education major is earning a degree in MUSIC and a degree in EDUCATION… or music THEORY, music TECHNOLOGY, music HISTORY, etc… There are those who choose the B.A. in Music or a Liberal Studies route in Music, but even then, they have to complete several hours of liberal studies along with the required amount of music courses to complete the degree. Thus, a “double major”. It is QUITE the undertaking!

    (Side Note: I further believe a Music Therapy degree is a TRIPLE major, but that’s not the question here…)

    So we come back to “Define Music Major”. The music major is a committed academic student who has a love for the freedom of creativity as well as strict organization. Must adapt, as well as have personal structure; Must be focused, as well as have the will to explore themselves musically; Must love music & believe in the “other” choice with all their heart; Must have the ability to balance TIME among their music practices & rehearsals, academic requirements, social life, and employment. In short, must be awesome.

    So what is a music major? Awesome. And “awesome” in the very literal sense: Someone who is expressive of awe as well as awe inspiring. Doesn’t that sound exactly like the description for music itself? I think so too.

    This is where my answer to Jenn’s question ends, and where my soap-boxery begins… Its a fair warning….

    Which is why that video – again describing (and mocking) INCOMING music majors, not practicing ones – is both amusing and frustratingly accurate to me. Those of us who believe in what I stated above (in some form or fashion) and have lived the life of a music major (several times – Bachelor, Masters, Doctorates…) see this attitude as immature and in many instances (sadly), commonplace, in current high school applicants.

    Watch that video again and pay close attention to what the young lady says.

    In this public school academic era of “No Student Left Behind” and “2nd Chance” and “Graduation Counselors” and ” Insert Clever Name for a State Scholarship for In-State Colleges if your GPA is ____” and all the other good intentions of assisting HS students into college admission (not success), the INCOMING music major (like many other INCOMING students) expect to be coddled, helped, assisted, pushed along, tutored, provided an infinite number of chances to repeat and/or retake exams, courses, etc… with the EXPECTATION that whatever they’ve done prior should be enough to continue forward. I mean, these students have “earned” a state college scholarship by completing high school! By the way, when did it change that completion of HS needed to mean more than earning a HS degree? But I digress…

    Is that the incoming student’s “fault”? Or is the environment (academic & social) they are coming from supporting this attitude? Combination? Is it the expectation of their home life? Is that a governmental issue? Should Colleges begin to demand more of incoming music majors? Can they AFFORD to? I don’t know either, but I’d like to know….

    OK Jenn, I apologize – but obviously, you’ve hit a “hot button” topic for me. I believe in both MUSIC and EDUCATION – and I simply want every incoming student to believe in those as well. As Lennon said, “I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”, but perhaps I should quote another musician, “Keep Ya Head Up” (Tupac).

    I hope EVERYONE celebrates a MOTHER today!

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to ALL Mothers! (or “Word to your Mother”, V. Ice)

    Peace out –

    Dr. Carney

    Posted by Dr. Carney | May 9, 2010, 1:12 pm


  1. Pingback: Well played, indeed « If it ain't Baroque… - May 12, 2010

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