music will not last

Much to my surprise, I find myself a music student. While I’m not entirely sure how it happened, I can tell you that the School of Music at UVic is a mind-boggling place for a science kid who likes techno to end up.

See what I mean? These are deeply serious people. If you’re a typical music student, you have to audition to get in, you have an appointed lesson for your instrument once a week, you have to play for masterclasses and recitals of all shapes and sizes…and you have to hold down decent marks in five courses. Woosh. I do not exaggerate when I say that the skill level that undergraduates display would rate a master’s degree in, say, computer science.

The music school is also a bit of a cult, or maybe “closed system” describes it better. It lives in this odd, self-perpetuating, historical vacuum, filled with the ghosts of surly German men. These ghosts loom overlarge, watching as music students reproduce their centuries-old melodies and harmonies with such perfection that only other music students will notice their flaws.

Some of these students then become teachers, and go out into the world and indoctrinate small, innocent children into their way of life. A subset of these children eventually end up at UVic as music students and a further subset of these new music students become teachers, and the cycle begins anew. It’s like salmon spawning. Only with more bassoons, more strict counterpoint, and fewer bears in rivers.

God, I love bears. Let me also make it very clear that in addition to loving bears, I don’t think that the cult / conservational aspects of the school of music are a bad thing, even if they can sometimes come on a little strong. I do, however, think that everyone should go down to Hush or Lucky or somewhere and get right crunked out from time to time. A little bit of populism never hurt anyone.

(I would take this chance to write about musical styles as a memetic virus, but that’s neither here nor there. Will get to it later.)

If you’re me and you snuck into all this through the back door marked Music & Computer Science, it can be a little overwhelming, and more than a little humbling.  I lack the skill, even after DJing for almost 7 years, to perform at the required level, and Brahms didn’t write any sonatas for laptop and turntable, for some reason Way to go, Brahms. What a dick. (I’ll just have to write them myself.)