Sunday, March 5, 2017

Introduction to a new series on teaching

This week, Musicology Now marks the beginning of what will be a recurring series dealing with the experiences of musicologists working in a range of institutions.
We are doing this for several reasons. First, we want to bring to wider attention some of our colleagues who work in institutions, or under institutional conditions, that may render their work less visible to the Society—because of geography, or teaching load, lack of research support, or any combination of similar factors. Many institutionally-affiliated musicologists are unable to attend AMS, for example, or to do a great deal of other conference-going.
We also want to highlight the experiences and realities of teaching in different kinds of institutions, as this is potentially important information for emerging scholars and those on the job market. In doing so, we also hope to provide a more complete picture of what full-time employment as a musicologist might look like, and the challenges and rewards that our colleagues have found in a variety of circumstances.
In this initial group of three posts, the institutions represented are an elite conservatory of music (Colburn Conservatory); an engineering, science, and mathematics college (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology); and a community college (Los Angeles City College). None of these institutions has a musicology department, and both Kristi Brown-Montesano and David Chapman, Jr. describe their rapid and necessary transformation from specialists into generalists. Both of them are also working in institutions where the academic study of music (in the case of Colburn, as opposed to the pursuit of performance) is a secondary or tertiary concern—perhaps at best. Christine Gengaro writes about the heavy teaching demands of working in a community college, and the challenges of doing research when it is neither institutionally supported nor required for advancement.
Scholars who work in teaching-heavy institutions are often on a tenure track based on teaching and service, rather than research. This creates a unique challenge for their research, in that they may find themselves ineligible for funding aimed at junior scholars, because they've earned tenure already; but also ineligible for funding aimed at senior scholars, because their publication records don't accord with those expectations. As a result, the whole field potentially misses out on a great deal of research. One of the large foundations might be well positioned to address this gap in opportunity, by way of fellowships geared toward people in these and similar situations.
As always, we welcome comments and feedback. If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact the editors at
-Andrea Moore


  1. It would be nice if the AMS could serve as one of those "large foundations" in supporting research or other opportunities for faculty whose careers are teaching-intensive, and/or opportunities for adjunct faculty. (Adjunct music scholars might take up an entire series of their own here.)

  2. Some of my best learning (in school) was done at community college. Smaller classes, discussion with diverse students (including older), dedicated and caring teachers --especially for introductory-level courses, community college can be better than university. - juesgosio

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