Jan 17 2009

Marsalis on today’s music students

Category: education,higher education,music,societyamuzikman @ 9:39 am

Here are comments by a legendary musician on music students today. Some of his comments may apply to students in other areas, but it’s really about the music. Mild language warning.

Branford Marsalis’ take on students today

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9 Responses to “Marsalis on today’s music students”

  1. John says:

    It’s true. It’s a merit driven society that we’re living in and everyone wants some kind of stamp of approval that they’re doing the right thing and that they’re doing it well according to standard. As I see it, gone are the days and folks or rare are they; that will work their butts off tirelessly regardless of how good they are. That they know within that there is more untapped potential and they want to bring it out. It’s quite pessimistic, but so true.

  2. enharmonic says:

    Wow! Wow! This is and indictment(sp?) of the education system as a whole. We have lost the ability to differentiate between encouragement and lying to kids.

  3. Michael says:

    I’m a college trumpet prof. For years High Schools have been producing what I commonly refer to as “Praise Junkies.” They are so conditioned to receiving great praise for mediocre work that they crave it constantly. When they don’t get it from you, they look for it in other places.

    Fortunately, this is not universal and there are exceptions. I try to get my students to realize this and to help them kick. Yeah, there is a period of withdrawal. 🙂


  4. harmonicminer says:

    The saddest part, to me, is that so many students have such low ambitions. They are content to be what they are, if only someone will affirm them in it. Relatively few have the vision of what they could be, and are internally driven to achieve some of it, even at considerable cost in time and effort, and sacrifice of other things they could do with the same time and effort.

    I spent more hours training my ear between the age of 14 and 15 than most college music majors spend in four years. And that was only one year… I did the same thing all four years of high school, and continued it into college. That’s why my ears work. I have the impression that most music majors, including those who want to be composers and conductors (where you really NEED your ears) would rather go see a movie.

  5. enharmonic says:

    I was at the top of my class in college in theory and ear training. The rest of my musical education was pretty weak by today’s standards (at the prestigeous Univeristy I attended). I have spent my entire music teaching career playing ‘catch-up’ to my peers in the business. It’s not that I was told I was better than I was (although I do think that happened) but the music department at my southern California college was playing ‘catch-up’ itself to the real music world. I will say, with all respect to my fellow students at that thime, that they were some pretty stellar musicians.

  6. jawg22 says:

    Marcalis mentioned that the present generation inherited this delusion of self-esteem from the previous generation. This is true, however, the technology of self-centrism that is unique in all history to the present generation makes the problem much easier to fall into. It seems to me that ‘effort’, in general, is slowly becoming too much ‘effort” for what it’s worth.

  7. amuzikman says:

    Especially any effort that does not result in instant gratification. The idea of working toward a goal that takes years to accomplish is as foreign to today’s generation as a television without a remote.

  8. michael lee says:

    Fortunately, by the time Phil has to deal with our students, they’ve been through 3 months of the Michael Lee Fear and Shame Academic Boot Camp we call “Intro to Music Tech.” It usually weens them off of ever expecting praise for anything they do ever again.

    Insert maniacal cackle here.

  9. harmonicminer says:

    They only get praise from me when they bring me Diet Cherry Pepsi.

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