Re: MFA vs. PhD


Subject: Re: MFA vs. PhD
From: mike mcferron (mike@bigcomposer.com)
Date: Mon Oct 31 2005 - 23:03:24 EST


I pretty much agree with the thread so far.

For me, the doctoral experience gave me much needed time to compose,
teach (btw, some places do offer classes on teaching--i took a few),
and get deeper in debt.

 From a practical perspective it's nearly 100% necessary to have a
Ph.D or DMA to teach at the university (and more and more ju-co)
level. But more important than that for me was the time it allowed
me to write music and get my music played. Moreover, it was easier
to make musical mistakes -- it's harder to make mistakes when you
have little time to compose and deadlines are knocking at the door. I
think most who are in academic jobs will agree that they spend much
less time today creating and more time doing academic "business"
while trying to juggle family and personal commitments.

If you haven't guessed, I admire Faust a bit....

cheers-
Mike

PS) On a high note (pun intended), I did squeeze in about 4 hours
today of composing (too bad for some future audience though)....
*********************************
Mike McFerron

www.bigcomposer.com
www.redearthpublishing.com

On Oct 31, 2005, at 8:59 PM, Paul Steenhuisen wrote:

> IMO, the Master's can be about formation through practice, and the
> Doctorate a transition to professional existence as a composer (ie
> creating and learning how to live on a dime).
> Most Master's level students simply haven't made enough artwork,
> developed their aesthetic views, or know enough repertoire for
> their practice to be anything other than transitional (as important
> as that is).
> While at some point the Doctorate was considered the transition
> degree to teaching, the number of jobs declined significantly, and
> the last degree became more about gathering more comprehensive
> knowledge in the field while furthering one's creative practice.
> As the jobs disappeared, it had to be about learning and practice.
> That deeper knowledge can be integral to one's development at some
> point (though it doesn't necessarily need to be gathered in a
> formal doctoral program, depending upon the individual), and the
> academic environment can be shaped into something more conducive to
> creativity than a survival joe job held when not in school. Worth
> noting is that nowhere in the degree paths were there any courses
> on teaching, though the process contained many models of what to do
> and what not to do.
>
> Paul
>
>
>
>
>>
>>>>> gogins@pipeline.com 10/31/05 8:02 PM >>>
>>>>>
>> Probably you know this, but in general the Doctorate is for
>> "research"
>> which implies teaching college, and the Masters is for "practice".
>> This
>> distinction does not always hold sway. In the arts it used to be that
>> practioners who were professionals were thought qualified to teach.
>>
>> I don't really know the reality of the situation in EA -- this is
>> just
>> the
>> basic idea in the university structure.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Mike
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Chris DeLaurenti" <chris@delaurenti.net>
>> To: <cec-conference@concordia.ca>
>> Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 6:40 PM
>> Subject: MFA vs. PhD
>>
>>
>>
>>> Recently, I was part of a panel that fielded questions from students
>>>
>> about
>>
>>> various aspects of sound art, electroacoustic music, and
>>>
>> improvisation. We
>>
>>> covered everything from field recording/phonography to doing sound
>>>
>> design
>>
>>> for games to the annoying ubiquity of certain MAX/MSP patches.
>>>
>>> We came to an impasse when a music undergrad asked if she would be
>>>
>> better
>>
>>> off pursuing an MFA or a PhD. Apparently both are "terminal"
>>> degrees,
>>>
>> but
>>
>>> no one could agree. She makes electroacoustic music and is primarily
>>> interested in university/college teaching.
>>>
>>> For folks on the list: do colleges/universities hire MFAs to teach
>>>
>> sound
>>
>>> art or does the Ph.D still hold sway? Does one carry more "weight"
>>>
>> than
>>
>>> another?
>>>
>>> I have no experience in the matter - apart from seeing job postings
>>> seeking "Ph.D or equivalent (experience)" - and kept mum while the
>>>
>> sparks
>>
>>> (some of which seemed to be born of traumatic experience) flew.
>>>
>>> Perhaps the question (and answers from the wise souls who know)
>>> might
>>>
>> be
>>
>>> of interest to others on the list?
>>> Chris
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>



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