Jan 27, 2010

*crawls under table to hide*

OK: news flash. I'm ditching the three-point format. It's too time-consuming to think of ways to fill in two slots when what I want to do is focus in on one thing ... maybe? Eh. Try this:

I. See below.

II. I meant the other below.

III. This below.

_____ is an amazing instructor. her enthusiasm just makes you want to go to every class and learn more. The course is really well structured, and the material is very stimulating. Musical History can be a really dull subject but _____'s video clippings are fantastic. She really tries to involve the class, and the homework assignments are creative as are the class activites. The amount i've learnt in this course is tremendous, and this is coming from someone who's had no training in an intrument. I've learnt a lot of technical terms and i can listen to a piece now and tell which era its from. One thing too- _____ assumes you know close to nothing, so its really good for people who do know absolutely nothing. Some of my other friends taking the class with other instructors struggle for they're too techinical. I really look forward to going to class and doing my homework. This class has been an amazing experience, and has only furthered my interest in music.


Ultimately, I think this class was too easy - not so much in terms the amount of work, but rather in terms of the level at which it was taught. The curriculum seemed to cater to a high school or even middle school class: given that this is an elite university, it seems that we should be asked to think at a sophisticated level and to challenge ourselves with difficult concepts and materials. Teaching Beethoven's Fifth Symphony using a YouTube video that compares the masterpiece to a baseball game doesn't just insult Beethoven - it also insults to us. I think we can handle a mature discussion of history and art. Other times, I feel that our instructor wanted us to find connections that, given the course's lack of focus on critical thinking, we weren't prepared to identify. As a result, class discussions were more like games of Guess What the Teacher Is Thinking. While the course has so far been an easy A, the disservice it does to the music and the students overshadows the relief of having a low-stress class.


People who know me well know that taking criticism in stride has been a real challenge throughout my teen and young adult years. There are many reasons for this; said reasons eventually clotted together into a big knot of anxiety surrounding *any* feedback I received, at all, at any time. That's why dealing with constructive criticism is a challenge.

This crit hits home on two levels: first, I wanted to be able to reach all students. The positive review states that this was the case for the beginners, but the critique points out that I set the pace to the absolute beginners and thereby "lost" some of the more advanced ones*. Second, the style of the critique makes me think that it is one of the individuals I knew to be smart, and capable, and (and here's the biggy) whose respect/liking I wanted to obtain. That's a stilted way of saying I wanted her to like me. L-I-I-IKE ME-E-E-E.

And that's not why I'm here, really, yes? So I'll try to put the critique into context, and move on from it.

Keyword: "try." I suspect that large amounts of chocolate might be involved.

1 comment:

suz said...

like that you're blogging again! ahh yes, processing and integrating criticism. a challenge to be sure. brings me back to having sermon critiques after each time I preach (oh wait, that happens every Sunday at the door.)