Saturday, October 30, 2004

Exam Time

Wow, it happened so fast, I barely had time to change gear. but, exams are now well and truly upon us, and I (should) have time for little else. Still, I am singing in a Bach choir concert tomorrow, 31st October (15:00 at the Wits Great Hall, for anyone in Johannesburg), and some things, like choir practices, don't stop just because I have a few exams ahead. My conducting technical exam was yesterday, and it went alright, not as well as I had hoped, but anyway, at least that is one more thing out of the way, and I also accompanied two singers exams on Wednesday, and one yesterday, which to my amazement was less terifying than I had anticipated. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that I bought myself a laptop on Wednesday? it is the most money I have ever spent at one time, but so worth it! I am at present sitting in my mothers lazyboy typing this on said laptop, when I should be studying for the written practical exam on Monday. Sounds insane, doesn't it? still, will post my thoughts on the reading matter as I develop them. One great thing about third year is that we get to pre-prepare many of our exam questions, because, or so we are informed, quality is more important that memory skill at this level. Might make sense to scrap exams altogether then, and assess on essays and assignments instead, but apparently the university still requires an exam mark, even if the writing conditions are somewhat different.
Anyway, back to the laptop, I have a choir practice for the concert later this evening, but that needn't interfere too much with my studying, because now I can just take my laptop with me, and continue my studying during the breaks! technomuso is feeling rather smug. So excuse me while I log onto the internet, and retrieve my email, and post this blog entry from the most comfortable chair in the house. Next post, when I have stopped playing with my new toy for long enough to actually get some worthwhile work done!

Monday, October 25, 2004

M is for Man, Music and Mozart

Last week, I watched a video in class called :"M is for Man, Music adn Mozart." It irritated me enourmously, not least because I really liked the whole sound world within which the music was created, and I enjoyed the context, but just couldn't understand or deal with the crudity. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with nudity, or even vulgar language, in certain contexts, and maybe this was simply a context that I didn't understand, but everything seemed so pointless. I happen to be a firm believer in a certain amount of social control, particularly when I walk into a practice room at varsity, only to be confronted by the remains of someone's lunch which has been putrefying there for days, and it just felt to me like that video was about destroying those necessary and useful areas of control, without achieving liberation, but only offensiveness. Feel free to contradict me. I would love to be proven wrong on this one. I really want to understand that video.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How to be a good grad student

Here’s a useful link for research students. This gives lots of background information for the whole post-grad study process. It’s specifically aimed at AI students, but is general enough to be worthwhile for anyone. The research journal suggested here is the same idea as I have for this weblog.

And something on the side, I have the most beautiful tri-colour nasturtium smiling at me from my desk. Its mostly yellow, with an orange stain down the centre of each petal, and a deep red blush near the centre on the top two petals. I don’t have a favourite colour, but this mixture is certainly high up on my list of favourites.

BibTeX may be worth investigating. An online bibliography? Will keep you informed.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

this is money

This is a great website for researching the basics of investing and saving. you see, if I believe all the info floating around about academic's salaries, and general lack of jobs, I have to find some other way of keeping up my new high-tech lifestyle, and managing the money I do have is it. I am always on the lookout for more info on this side of things, but it's got to be simple enough to fit alongside all the other stuff I am continually filling my head with.

techno ethno

Got an upgrade on my cellphone today. It's a really cool ericson with all the hightech features I, and my dad, could possibly want. We ethnomusicologists are supposed to be the ultimate low-tech creatures, content to read paper copies of presentations at conferences, and disappear into the woodwork for months at a time while we painstaikingly type up our research from hand-written notes etc. Well, not me. I can take all the notes I want on my cellphone, including audio recording and photographs, and download it to my computer through infrared connections. And if all this excitement isn't enough, I am actually considering a laptop. Old hat to many, I guess, but for me this is all a really big deal. Now if only I could understand the 30 page instruction manual for the cellphone...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Society for Ethnomusicology

Nice link from the previously posted online resources for ethnomusicologists. Again, a browsable index of published articles

grad school

Wow, there is such a general negativity doing the rounds about graduate study and academia in general. This is one article advising enthusiastic graduates of all the possible problems with the whole process, and it is only one of several. Is it really likely that by continuing on my present path, I am toying with self-destruction? perhaps. But quite honestly, I want to do this so badly, I'm prepared to risk it. Just hope I can avoid becoming embittered.

I really want to feel like I am doing some good, and contributing to my society in a valuable way, and when my research turns up results as interesting as it has been recently, I feel like I am. Tell you what, though, I hate the publishing process, and yet I can think of few other ways of making what I do accessible to the broader public. Perhaps this is the way to do it. Maybe blogs are the ultimate way of getting what I do out into the public sphere. And yet, with absolutely no traffic up to this point, I am beginning to wonder...

Still, if this all falls down around me, at least I can conduct choirs. I'm really getting quite good at that. And what makes me particularly smug about it is that someone who offered to help me learn that spent half a year trying to convince me that I was useless at it. well ha, ha, miss embittered school teacher, I will not be trod on! positive thinking, naively romantic do-gooders still get it right more of the time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

South African Journal of Musicology

Ok, here is the first useful link from that page I posted about earlier. searchable index, and some online abstracts availiable.

online ethnomusicology resources

this looks like it could be very useful. I have only just begun expolring it, but will post any especially useful links from it that I find

Conferences and concerts

Yippee! Just found out I am going to Stellenbosch next month for a conference. An organization that sponsored my (first ever) conference presentation in Finland in August this year have decided to include me in a research group on music education in South Africa! I have been hoping they would for a while now. It's all about getting my name and my work out there...

By the way, if you are in Johannesburg at present, watch out for details of the Johannesburg Bach Choir's upcoming concert: Buxtehude and Vivaldi! I am singing, and my conducting mentor is conducting. More details to follow.

Monday, October 18, 2004

How it all begins...

Ok, so in typical conservative style, after spending all weekend researching how this all works, and what is available, and trying to decide whether I will be able to keep it going, I am finally starting my blog. Its really all about keeping track of my research, both online and off. You see, despite all the negative publicity, I still want to be an academic. Even worse, I want to be an ethnomusicologist, here in South Africa, where those who make money out of doing valuable work in this field are few and far between, and heavily marginalised by those who do less than valuable work in the field, and still manage to make all the money.

Any way, here goes.

I am working on, at present, a small research project, which I hope to grow into a much larger PhD and beyond over the next seven years. For now, it is called "Singing South African-ness" (a pilot study of which is about to be published in a new Journal: Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa) and deals with the construction of identities among youth choirs in South Africa.

I am therefore interested in just about anything to do with identity, Sub-culture, race and the construction of whiteness, and choral music. Keep adding to this list as appropriate, I think, because I keep discovering new interests (blogs, for example)

first couple of links:
Inter-cultural relationships work best when both sides treat each other as equals

Postmodern Approaches to Gender, Sex, and Sexuality - A Critique

both from Anthroblog, who I was reading when I finally decided this could be useful.

so... Here's to possibilities