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A Cruel War is Raging

May 18, 2011

I have got to stop reading depressing articles about the state of jobs in academia like this one from The Nation, which actually makes a lot of sense, but not in a very hopeful way.

But the depressing state of the job market isn’t totally discouraging me yet. The discourtesy of the job market does a little. I’m not entirely sure how many job applications I’ve submitted, I think nine. Two of them are still pending and one just asked one of my referends for a letter (this is probably not as promising as it sounds, but rather an indication that they read my cover letter and observed that I know two people who are highly placed at that particular place of employment, not a university). Of the remaining seven, I know from a job wiki that all positions have been filled, and yet I have only received two notices of application receipt and a single notice of rejection. Given the amount of time these applications take — frequently they require 60 or more pages of writing — it seems to me the least they could do is let applicants know they’ve hired someone else. In the age of electronic applications, it should take them a matter of seconds to respond. And yet a response is increasingly a rarity, one more humiliation in the land of academia.

Still, I, at least, have some skills and work experience outside academia, so I have some options. The two jobs where I have pending applications are both long shots. Both are education related positions requiring a Ph.D. and knowledge of academia, but neither is at a university. And honestly, both jobs sound like they’d be pretty awesome and well-tailored to both my interests and skills. We’ll see, though, if I hear anything from either of them.

* * * * *

On a different, and more cheerful subject, I enjoyed reading Paste Magazine’s interviews with 18 indie musician moms. The subject made me squirm a little, but the interviews were fun to read and made me think about the importance of parental musical input. One of the questions they asked everyone is, “What does your kid think of your music?” They meant, of course, the music the musical mothers create themselves, but some responded with the music they listened to, which got me to thinking about the music I grew up with. Things I remember listening from my parents’ LP collection: The Beatles (Meet the Beatles and Revolver), Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, the Time Life classical music collection, Chaikovskii’s Nutcracker and Swan Lake, The Kingston Trio, The Limelighters, Jimmy Cliff, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Frank Sinatra, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti and the soundtrack to West Side Story. A little bit later, we added some things on cassette: The Carpenters, Abba, Ravel’s Bolero. But it’s those earlier LPs that are still stuck in my head. I am reminded of this as I sit down to find new guitar rep to learn. I’ve been trying to find some songs to bring on our camping trip this weekend, in case I’m dumb enough to bring the guitar. I’m finding myself gravitating to the songs I grew up with. And so “Blowin in the Wind” and “The Night they drove old Dixie Down” are in my book (although the latter is still too hard to play), as are a number of Beatles and Peter, Paul and Mary tunes. Don’t worry, I’m not planning on trying my hand at Stravinsky. Yet.

What did you grow up listening to you? Do you still listen to those thing? How did what you grew up with influence your current musical tastes? Inquiring musicologists want to know.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2011 2:44 pm

    We lived across the street from Celin Romero and I will forever drop what I am doing to focus when I hear Spanish guitar music.

  2. May 18, 2011 2:49 pm

    I forgot about that — I remember you telling me that once.

  3. freshhell permalink
    May 18, 2011 2:50 pm

    I listened to a lot of the same things you mentioned. My mother was a Beatles fan but otherwise not interested in music. She had some Paul Simon, Carly Simon, and a Stevie Wonder record later. And there was the mysterious album cover to the Stones’ It’s Only Rock and Roll (which bizarely is playing on Pandora RIGHT NOW. I’m frightened!). No album, just the cover. My mother was notoriously bad about taking care of records. No inner sleeves, etc.

    My father was the music lover. He worked at a radio station in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s before my parents were married. He like opera (Wagner) and classical music mostly. So, I listened to Rite of Spring, Bolero, Bach, Beethoven, things I don’t know the names of, sadly. I never had a music appreciation class. So I things by by ear but not by title.

    As a child, I had a big box set of albums of classical music for children. Also something that introduced children to rhythym instruments. Peter and the Wolf – narrated by I do not know. Swan Lake. Firebird. What else?

    Oh, for a time we had an album of Irish dance music and I would put it on and dance to it, competely lost in my own world. I must have been alone a lot back then. Later, there was the album to Fame and Godspell – played those over and over. Esp Godspell. The Mikado – knew that one backwards and forwards. “He’s got a little list…of people we could do without who never will be missed!” 🙂

    I had my own bright green plastic record player as a child and my dad and I would listen to The Wizard of Oz songs. I also had the soundtrack to Disney’s Robin Hood.

    Then I discovered – all on my own (apart from the Beatles) – rock and roll.

  4. May 18, 2011 3:08 pm

    Freshhell, you reminded me of a bunch of things I hadn’t thought of: Simon and Garfunkel and an album of the University of Michigan marching band. And then there were a bunch of records that a neighbor gave me with a record player, one of those turntables that looked like a little suitcase. I had Mary Martin and a soundtrack to Winnie the Pooh and a bunch of other things I can’t remember any more.

  5. May 18, 2011 8:08 pm

    The land of academia is where humiliation first sprouted, and it’s still the biggest cash crop. This is one of the soundtracks I grew up with; my mother shouting about how she was more than a “faculty wife” (she was part-time in the same department as my father and wanted to be full-time, among other things).

    The other music I grew up with: musical theater, especially Man of La Mancha and Candide. Classical music. My parents had some Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy records, and my brother hated them even worse than I did.

  6. May 18, 2011 8:31 pm

    I grew up listening to Christian radio, my mom’s small collection of Barbara Streisand and Elton John records, and some (broad definition ahead) classical orchestral recordings. I still listen to broadly defined “classical” music, but not often. I think you know most of my musical taste lately. 🙂 I do think that playing in a symphony gave me a taste for broad orchestral sounds, even in popular music.

  7. May 19, 2011 11:57 am

    We seem to have had the same parents, what with the music and the Joan Aiken.

    The Beatles, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Arlo, The Kingston Trio, Don McClean, Odetta, Simon & Garfunkel. Tom Lehrer. Soundtracks to Hair, West Side, Chorus Line, Peter Pan, Candide and yes, Man of La Mancha! Handel’s Messiah. The Nutcracker. Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (the only recording I’ve ever heard with NO narration), with Peter & The Wolf on the flip side. The Brandenbergs (in the Music from Marlboro recording with PIANO). And a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan. Oh, and Flanders & Swann.

    And anything by Rampal or Galway – ’cause I played the flute.

    Oh, and Alice in Wonderland narrated by Cyril Richard.

    And the Met Opera was always on on Saturday afternoon.

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