Michael Battalio


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Serious conversations (part 14):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. We began with religion and have now moved onto many other things. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The fourteenth entry has general comments about a career and college (With a paragraph about classical music just for the heck of it):

         I think once you get far into a profession, most people are devoted to their field. Undergrads are there because they know no better. Grad students are in a field because they think they will like it. Doctoral students because they believe they will enjoy making it their career. Post docs because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And professionals because they know enough about their field to be excited.
        I am of the belief that as an undergrad you narrow down your career path to one field, and grad school is where you figure out what you want to do in that field. There are numerous exceptions, for example physicists or mathematicians going into meteorology or some sort of engineering as they go into grad school.  But in general, that’s how I see the end of college, a increasing narrowing of scope.
        A lot of finding the perfect job is luck; a large portion of it is diligence though.  That’s the part I’m determined in making sure is in my favor.  You just have to try until you find what it is you can do for 30 or 40 years of your life. You just have to look into something that you might be interested in and finding who it is that hires those people, what degrees they have, what is their job description, what other duties they have, etc.  The possibilities are endless really, especially in the age of information we are in today.
        (In reference to the last bit of part 13 of this series.) I am not aspiring to be a professional musician or conductor, but if it ever happened, I believe I would be happy doing it.  As far as composing is concerned, that’s the problem with contemporary “classical” music; there are so many other genres of music, that not many people really listen to it anymore.  There is also something to be said of music not being appreciated in the era it is composed.  For example, rioting at the Rite of Spring, but now it's considered fantastic, same with a lot of Schoenberg.   Bach wasn’t even appreciated in his time.  I’m certain that fifty years from now we will look back and see the “great composers” were right in front of us.  Although it concerns me that “classical” music is not appreciated as much as it should be. A lot of that has to do with the perception that classical music is boring. The real problem is that you actually have to pay attention, be absorbed by the music. It takes effort to listen to classical. Pop music has made everyone a passive listener. As long as there is a repeating set of chords, a heavy bass line, and some vulgar lyrics, it can become popular. You don't need much brain activity to listen to it. Although there is some quality popular music being made, the vast majority of pop music is geared towards those who don't actively listen, they just follow along as a lemming.

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