September 9, 2014 by Lo
I’m teaching now in the Music Industry Studies program at Loyola in addition to the History Department. I was a bit apprehensive about this at first, I have to admit. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about teaching in what I saw as mainly a vocational program. And I wasn’t sure if my music industry knowledge, which is 10 to 15 years out of date, is still relevant to this generation of students.
On the second point, my concerns were unnecessary. I’m really teaching the basics, and the basics haven’t changed. I also have the personal experience in the industry to make my knowledge relevant to the students and to advise them on their own situations. And I’m really digging the chance to do this.
As far as the vocational program vs. liberal arts ideal conundrum goes, that’s a more complex issue. But I’m starting to agree with the program chair here that they way we teach Music Industry students here is genuinely in the liberal arts tradition. It’s empowering them to have a productive career in a creative field. They are developing as artists, as thinkers, as people, and very importantly, unlike far too many college students, they are doing something their heart strongly urges them to do.
And that’s why I really enjoy this teaching, so far — the kids are smart, motivated, engaging, and above all very psyched to be doing this. That’s something that’s missing, in greater or lesser degrees, in the teaching of the liberal arts, and you don’t really know it’s not there until you do something like this and see what students can be like when they are following their own ambitions and dreams.