Saturday, August 24, 2013

if recitals could be the way I envision them . . .

I wouldn't look quite so ridiculous in terms of size, but my attire would more that make up the difference.

I'm getting tired of thinking about what to wear at my recitals. The more I think about it, the more firmly I'm convinced that the whole system is wrong -- just plain wrong.  As far as the adjudication panel is concerned, in my opinion, they should hear but not see who is playing and should not even have any idea  who is playing. They should have no access to the schedule of rehearsals. All scheduling should be managed by a confidential third party so that even one's specific instructing professor does not know  any closer than  to the month when a student's recital will be, so that the prof couldn't let it slip to an adjudication panel  member as to whom it was playing a given recital.  The department chair's secretary basically runs the department anyway. She's up to the task.

So what if a musician does not have a sufficiently serene expression on his or her face? Some of the world's finest pianists and string  musicians look as though they're giving birth to five--pound kidney stones while they're performing. So what if the attire isn't quite perfect? It's not supposed to be a fashion contest. If a player's fingering or technique is awkward,  it should be apparent to the trained ear. I can tell when I'm walking past a practice room when a pianist's fingering is even slightly off, and usually can detect errors in violin technique even when the correct notes are being played. if I don't need to see the musician to discern technical inaccuracies by sound alone,  the adjudication panel certainly shouldn't need a visual image to do the same.

Blind recitals as far as judges are concerned would remove  the politics connected to scoring. While we would like to think all judges are objective, honest,and fair, we know better. While some of the politics are eliminated by disallowing a candidate's own instructing professor from adjudicating his or her recital, other professors who specialize in the same instrument may have petty reasons for wishing for the degree candidate to receive a score lower than one of his or her own protegees, even though  degree candidates' scores are not compared to one another, and a computerized system is used for determining the letter grade, as some professors consistently score higher or lower than others, and the computer keeps track of this so that someone who is unlucky enough to end up with a panel of low scorers isn't penalized in the grading process. (Computer-adjusted scores are available later that night, so we're not left wondering for a week.  Part of  potential bias is reduced by having a five-member panel, with no more than two judges specializing in the candidate's  instrument. Anyone in the department should have adequate background to competently score for any instrument used in a performance.  Furthermore, any score that is ten points lower or higher (on a 100-point scale) than the next lowest or highest score is automatically eliminated from all consideration.. All of the professors except my mom, who is new to the faculty but wouldn't be on my adjudication panel for obvious reasons, have been doing it for years.

If  I had time, I would do a third recital in the spring quarter merely for the hell of it on my third instrument -- the tuba. I haven't touched a tuba for three years, but I'd pick it right up again if I practiced for a week. I'd do it as an audit or schedule it too late for it to be considered in the medical school application process. I'd show up in a colorful and over-sized controversial T-shirt - probably with something about Governor Rick Perry and his profoundly retarded (sorry, Rosa of Rosa's Law, but "profoundly retarded" fits here more aptly than does "cognitively disabled") reproductive policies,  along with wildly striped leggings and Converse high tops. I'd wear a decorated paper bag over my head  with holes cut out for the eyes and nose, and an especially large hole cut out for the mouth. I'd use a sousaphone, which wraps around the player and is used typically in marching bands, instead of the more dignified concert tuba,  which would be considered a bit tacky for a senior recital, further adding to the overall effect. I'm not big enough to play an actual tuba anyway.  this would be my way of thumbing my nose at the antiquated system and sticking it to the man, so to speak.  It would be a memorable recital. I'm almost sad that it will never happen.

1 comment:

  1. It's probably a good thing I was too lazy to stick with an instrument.