IMAGE:  October 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 1
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"…so one-sided it falls off my bookshelf."

Striking the wrong note
I just got to the June/02 issue of the U of C Magazine. In it, there is an article called "Chicago: Campus of the Big Ideas," where a number of symposia are described. I must take issue with #8, Art for Art's Sake.

I graduated with an A.B. in music. Throughout my years at the U of C I always thought they should change the major to musicology-because, for the major, there is no instrumental or composition requirement. In fact, there is so little actual music required that every time I tell someone that I got an A.B. in music from the U of C, I have to mention something to the effect of "but it's the U of C. That means no instruments, no composition, and no performance."

I realize that one can go out and do whatever music they want. There are groups at the school. But they have nothing to do with the requirements of the music degree. Don't get me wrong, as a musician I am glad that I had the opportunity to study all that I did at the U of C-I probably wouldn't have done it otherwise.

Why do I mention this? Because there are errors in the review of the eighth symposium, Art for Art's Sake. I quote: "At many conservatories, history and analysis are considered a waste of time,' said Philip Gossett…; the attitude is 'you should be practicing.' Similarly, many universities have 'built barriers to performance. Professors actually frown on practicing music.' Chicago is different: the music department sponsors student ensembles…." To connect the U of C with "conservatories" is ridiculous. While it is a good thing that Chicago isn't tripping on practicing, there is no performance requirement. Dig?

One last thing-I read the Magazine religiously. As you might guess I like the U of C. Heck, "like" is too weak a word to describe my feelings. I think it's a damn good school. But not without flaws! This might be my main criticism of the Magazine - it's so one-sided it falls off my bookshelf. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would say that one of the signs of a healthy, strong, humble, mature institution is self-criticism. Knowing when you're wrong. Working on your faults and, yes, when it's appropriate-publishing them in the community paper for discussion.

Ari Gold, AB'98
New York

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