Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcome (September, 2012)

Welcome to all composition students in my class this semester, and welcome as well to any other readers of this blog!

This year begins with tremendous excitement for me, because we have substantially "beefed-up" our composition offerings to composition majors and minors at Memorial University's School of Music.  Starting this semester, composition majors and minors will be able to take composition for four semesters (all of third and fourth year), plus an additional semester of study in second year for anyone interested in composition.  This is a significant improvement in our programme, and I am looking forward to working with you, hearing your music, and reading your blogs.

This next section is excerpted from my welcome message from a previous semester:

Please visit this site regularly to read and comment on entries relating to music composition. This blog is open to anyone; most of the comments tend to be by students in my courses, but anyone who wishes to comment is encouraged to do so.

Many of the people visiting this blog are not current or former students — when I checked the "Site meter" at the bottom of this page a few minutes ago, it showed recent visitors from Japan, Singapore, Germany, California, Ottawa, and New Brunswick — so be aware that any comments you make can be read by a fairly large and diverse audience.

A list of student blogs is on the right column of this page; if you are in the course and your blog isn't listed, please let me know your blog's URL and I will add it.

Typically, almost all comments are made by class members for one very simple reason: Class members are required to comment on a certain number per semester. That's right; I am an ogre! I compel students to comment on the class blog by means of marks incentives.

Is this fair? Is it right? Is it good pedagogy? Well, I think so (obviously), but (polite) comments from those who feel otherwise are always welcome.  I would be happy to hear thoughts on the idea of enforced blog participation as a course requirement, whether you agree with it or not.  I believe discussion can be a healthy and helpful thing, and my objective is to find ways of engendering it.

Enjoy, and may you always find the right notes!

Two more things:  
  1. I have written about 115 blogs so far, and you are free to comment on any of them (as well as on any new blogs that I write, of course).  I receive E-mail notifications for any blog comments made.
  2. My blogging frequency has diminished down to a trickle: 36 posts in 2008, 45 in 2009, 24 in 2010, 4 in 2011 (ouch!), and 7 thus far in 2012.  To counter this shameful (!) trend, I am going to challenge myself to write one blog a week for the next 12 weeks on average.  Let's see if I can keep this up…

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