Brian Hulse operascore at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 27 10:27:56 PDT 2009

I second David's point (below). My best composition teachers were extremely idiosyncratic people who, if placed side by side would hardly resemble each other. What they *do* have in common is also what I think great composers/improvisers have in common, which is that they have evolved a highly original and successful 'voice' of their own. I think of, for instance, Morris Rosenzweig (University of Utah) who somehow had the ability to pick out a problem or a blind spot in my composing process in really fundamental ways. But he would do it in cycles where I would basically be devastated and then, gradually, overcome the problem and regain my orientation. Then the process would start all over again. Another example is Marty Boykan (Brandeis), who led weekly marathon sessions with all the composers where he would sit at the piano, play through whatever each of us had written that week, and not only find the spot that was giving us trouble but articulate
 *why* it wasn't working.
These sorts of approaches to teaching seem to me to go against the textbook-education pedagogy model. It is much more like the master-disciple model that you get, for instance, in the traditional study of Indian Classical Music (before the rise of music schools in India). There is almost a complete absorbtion between the whole of the teacher's world and that of the student -- something that cannot be reduced to an abstract 'curriculum.'

* * * * * * * * * 
Brian Hulse
Assistant Professor
College of William & Mary

--- On Fri, 3/27/09, David Froom <dfroom at smcm.edu> wrote:

For me, teaching was learned by using my best teachers as models.  

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