Re: MFA vs. PhD

Subject: Re: MFA vs. PhD
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 10:20:23 EST

"Knowing" and practicing the art is only one aspect of teaching.

Teachers range from brilliantly inarticulate to articulately useless
(I've had both ends of this range), to the inspirational ('ideas
people') and technically exacting (again I've had both).

Breadth, depth and continuous curiosity have marked my best teachers.
I may not have been interested in the specifics of the 'what' and
'why' of their work, but much of what I learned was about
disciplining the (my) mind (and developing work habit).

Many people who have been in the field for a couple of years are able
to give engaging and provocative one, two, three or four hour
presentations and lectures. IME, the discipline is being able to
re-enter the teaching space 52 time in eight months and continue to
have the focused energetic interest. Some people have this as a gift,
I had to work for 20 years to develop this skill.

My approach and (perceived) lack of flexibility (TIIAR) (*), tends to
be a problem for some in my classes, and I get a shearing effect in
response -- "liked / hated".

Another aspect that I have discovered in my best teachers was that
they were continuous students.



At 09:58 +0000 2005/11/01, mopani wrote:
>I'm curious about this topic and have been tentatively opening the
>debate on another newsgroup devoted to sound art. You would hope
>that practising sound artists backed up by academic certification
>would make the best teachers, but there are many differing
>definitions of sound art going about.

(*) First rule of success in University -- TIIAR (The Instructor is
Always Right); second rule -- RTQ (Read the Question); third rule --
ATQ (Answer the Question).

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