Ready, set, GO

September 28, 2009

School started with a bang at UCLA.

The first day featured a faculty strike, with students and staff encouraged to join in. Robert Winter put it succinctly: “I’ve waited for 25 years to teach this class; you think I’m gonna strike?” — this referring to our new first year core course offered for the first time. This term I am joined by Robert Winter, as well as ethnomusicologist, A.J. Racy. All majors in performance, composition, music education, music history, world music, and jazz are required to take this one year team taught class. (By the way: we didn’t strike, nor did the students.)

On the first day, Winter set the tone for the course, explaining what were about to do, and setting the ground rules for the course. They, I coordinated a “getting to know you” session. Each student said: “My name is [their name], I play the bassoon and I am from San Francisco. An interesting thing I’d like you to know about me is [I am an Ultimate Frisbee expert].” We got through 90 students, the TAs and the teachers. Then the class closed with AJ Racy who will continue his talk on Tuesday.

On Saturday night, I hosted a party for the three music departments. A good group showed up and we had a blast. The young’s and a few oldsters as well, played Wii downstairs. Lots of cross departmental zapping occurred which is always a good thing.

Today, I ran the combined musicianship classes while the TAs worked to divide the 90-some students into six sections, each one divided by musicianship ability. We tried this for the first time last year and it worked quite well.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I have been going through our considerable collection of musical instruments with our performance faculty, evaluating which ones have curriular value, which ones can be used by our Music Fundamentals in Music Education classes, and which ones are valuable and should be sold. Everyone has enjoyed the “going through the attic” experience, expressing surprise as they find some real treasures.

It is thrilling to see supercharged, ready-to-teach teachers, and the excited students ready to learn. No one is thinking about the terrible California budget; the educational process is alive and well at UCLA, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

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