The Aftermath of Finals

Everything from Fall 2002 is now behind me. Well, everything but the grades, but there ain't a whole lot to be done about those now. A gargantuan sigh of relief is in order.


There's still one semester left, and it's already lining up to be quite taxing. So in this 3-week interim, I've got a lot of pondering to do.

The main order of business: convince the composition faculty that in 2 semesters of private instruction, I have evolved as much as the average student does in 3-4 semesters. I really have no idea what that means, but that's what they want to see.

I really don't get composition juries. The only thing that would make less sense is a theory jury. Personally, I think the process should take place entirely over email. (Of course he would think that. He's an antisocial computer geek.)

But here's how it takes place today: First the comp faculty has to agree on a 5-hour timeslot where all 5 professors of gradated importance can convene into a single room (a feat usually duplicated about twice a year) and can sit around and squint at scores and ignore the recording playing in the background.

This basically boils down to what your score looks like, as opposed to *how* the music you have created sounds. Combine this with the professors' unjustifiable urge to look smart in front of their peers and superiors by asking arcane and wholly useless questions to the student in the uncomfortable chair. Add a little more squinting.

So if this is how it's currently done, why can't we just email .pdf copies of the scores being submitted, let the professors look at them when they have time, and have email conversations with the other professors about it? If the professor has a valid question to be asked, an email would be directed at the student, who would have ample time to ponder and formulate an intelligent answer.

None of this really means anything, though. After all, I passed the sophomore barrier last semester. The point of upper-division juries seems to be, for the most part, simply a formality. I guess they're required to care about what every student has written in the past four months.

And I suppose my grade in COMP 4020 is issued by a quorum instead of the one professor who assisted in the completion of the scores presented. That and an entirely pointless listening exam consisting entirely of 100-year-old works whose styles (if we to attempt emulation thereof) are labeled as tired and derivative.

So the mission for the next five months: construct a performable portfolio of equal parts classical, improvisatory, and electro-acoustic and of a duration greater than forty minutes. Perform them on 8 April 2003 and present them in May.

I will have the tools. I will have the drive. I will have the time. I will not sleep. I will not eat. I will not breathe. I will not retain my sanity.

Only to return to the room of professors and their lust for notation.

I'd love to do it over email.

There's no emoticon for squinting.

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