Education

Education

I haven’t put to much thought into this but just something to distract me from my work day. I am noticing more and more in the USA and North America "Traditional Irish Musicians" playing around here and there at festivals and shows that include in their "BIO"s information about their degree’s in studying traditional music at universities and their various degrees in musical performance… and all about their trips or sabbaticals to Ireland to "study" the music etc…

I don’t quite remember the option to go to a University to study traditional music back when I was graduating high school, but maybe I missed the boat. Any way, I’m not sure I’d trade my struggles, joys, and experiences in learning traditional music from friends, family, and seeking out those who play in a traditional way… I could write an interesting resume!

I don’t have anything against this "scholarly" pursuit of music, but I know that it seems a little strange to me, but then again each person’s musical path is different.

Just wondering what others think? Are there really "degrees" and Universitys offering these things? How is this looked at in Ireland among traditional musicians? I understand that there are "workshps" and "schools" but musicians touting education like they would on a job resume to promote their Irish or other traditional music? Does anyone else find this odd? Keep in mind I’m not talking about those who learned from traditional musicians.

Re: Education

We’ve actually discussed this a couple of times. It does seem a bit odd for a traditional music to be taught this way. But in general, I’m all for it, because it helps quantify the music, as well as promote it. I have two friends who have gotten degrees from UL, and they’re both phenomenal musicians.

http://www.thesession.org/discussions/16595
http://www.thesession.org/discussions/7323
http://www.thesession.org/discussions/7373
http://www.thesession.org/discussions/17592

Re: Education

I remember hearing with some surprise a Finnish player of her country’s traditional stringed instrument introducing herself at the beginning of a performance at a British folk festival in a similar way, but a Finnish friend of mine explained that this was a typical way of doing things in Finland, you had to show that you had done the requisite work and gained the qualifications.
No doubt this is just a modern trend, when you can no longer be an artist recognised as such without further ado, because all that has gone before is already known, so you have to show you have earned your credentials.
How different from, say, when the late Peter Bellamy introduced Walter Pardon as the wonderful new find, an unknown person still singing the songs he loved when they were no longer popular or in fashion, almost as a living relic.
I can’t speak for Ireland, but of course both Newcastle and Glasgow in the UK now have degree and postgraduate courses in Folk Music, not to forget Philidelphia and no doubt others in the US.

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Sorry, Rev, where’s UL ?

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Sorry, University of Limerick

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I went and studied music at a University. I studied theory and perfomance (that would be "Classical performance" since that was all there was back then)

Alot of traditional music was taught as "ethnomusicology". People would do their graduate thesis on some obscure folk style or something like that

One thing that teaching folk music (and jazz here in the states) at universities does is that it creates teaching jobs for people who play that music, so it can’t be all bad

But I never had to send in my transcripts to book any gigs, so a Bachelor’s of Music and a gun will get you a cup of coffee here in the states (but you better have the gun with you, the degree isn’t worth a red cent)

Something I noticed with jazz being taught in universities over here, though, is that everybody under the age of 40 sounds alike anymore

That can’t be good

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Go to a night class at almost any graduate school. The class may be dry & boring or it can be very lively.
Flash forward to the end of class time. A handful of students start talking, one of them walks up to the professor & says, "We’re going to grab a beer. Care to join us."
Prof, "Sure!"
This is where academia meets tradition.

Posted .

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Newcastle=Hogwarts
Glasgow=Durmstrang?
Limerick=Beaubatons?

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One factor could be that there are just so many good trad musicians in Ireland that anyone wanting to teach or make a living in some way other than gigging can find it a useful leg-up for professional purposes.
Perhaps also for some people it’s a natural culmination to a lifetime steeped in and playing the music- a bit like the icing on the cake.
I know a couple of people who have done UL trad performance and MA courses, and they were already professional-level musicians- in fact, I think that was pretty much a pre-requisite.

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The Limerick course is highly spoken of, used to be run by Michael O’Sullivan, who spells his name in Irish.

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I am in one of these programs myself at DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology) it is a four year course and when I finish I will have a bachelor of music. As far as I know there are three schools which have degree programs for traditional Irish music these schools being UL, DIT, and UCC (University College Cork). All of these programs have well know musicians teaching and giving workshops on a regular basis.

I chose to do this course for a couple reasons the main one being that I wanted to go to school for something that I have a keen interest in. I would have done a music degree anywhere I went, so if traditional music is what I enjoy playing the most why would I want to study something else in school? Other reasons being, what better way to learn the music than at the source? I am an American for those of you who don’t know; so what better excuse to spend four years in Ireland than school? Also, I intend to play professionally so it will be nice to have some credentials, but there are more opportunites for things like gigging and forming bands in Dublin than most places in the US. So to conclude my ramblings doing one of these degrees isn’t only so I can have a degree in the music, but because I have a deep desire to learn about the music. What I am saying is that doing a traditional music degree isn’t only about the credit, but also learning in four years what would take a lot longer outside of a college. Getting a performance degree isn’t about the degree, its about the training.

Having said all of this, the program at DIT is OK and is by no means perfect.

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‘so what better excuse to spend four years in Ireland than school?’
Just wondering why Americans (and Canadians?) refer to university/college as school. We finish school at 16 or 18 and then go to college/university. Maybe there is some explanation or have I missed something?

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Mehere:

"School" in reference to college/university level education is a common usage in standard American English.

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Here in Chicago (or as several new ‘acquaintences’ at a pub in Donegal kept saying as they flirted with my daughters-Cheeecahgo) we have a place called St. Xavier University. A very well regarded institution run by the Holy Domincan Sisters, which boasts Herself as a respected alumna.

They have offered for several years graduate level course work in Irish culture which includes traditional music. Being the token Polak in a self-proclaimed Irish ‘ghetto’ on the South Side- Also Home of our new president Barack O’Bama (actually his mother was of Irish descent I understand) I always joke with my red-headed Mac about going to Xavs to study how to be Irish.

Sadly, as Herself- a literary scholar- always reminds me, I am ‘culturally illiterate’ since I went to engineering school and business school. I have had to learn my music the old fashioned way. On my own, listening to other. And as I am now fore the first time in my fifty something years actually taking some lessons on the box, my teacher is teaching me the proper way to learn ITM- tunes by ear, and expression/ornament etc by listening to and talking to those who know how to play.

All the college trained musicians I know either play cutesy piano in TV commercials or teach tuba and such to indifferent high school boys more intent on dreaming about the sweet young thing sitting next to them playing the flute or clarinet.

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Zippy, I am a "college trained" musician but I ended up working as a medical clerk in a hospital instead of teaching music. Does that make me an exception to the rule?