Author Topic: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.  (Read 5687 times)

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Ron

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Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« on: August 27, 2011, 07:19:40 AM »
Occasionally, I'll get accused of being arrogant and intolerant. Guilty as charged. I perform fairly well in a large number of areas (and stink in some as well). I am well-educated, widely-read, fairly bright, experienced in a wide variety of fields, and am generally polite and soft-spoken.

However, I cannot tolerate incompetence.

Over the years I have worked with a number of people who have held high-paying responsible positions, yet they did not have a clue what they were doing. Meanwhile, there are a lot of well-qualified, hard-working, and talented people out of work. That's what gets my goat. I have never had a problem if someone does not know something or is unfamiliar with something. As long as they realize their position and are willing to learn, then I am patient and will go over something that seem obvious to me but is obtuse to the student as many times as necessary and in as many varied ways as I can manage.

But, when I meet someone who claims expertise in a field demonstrates that they lack even the most basic of skills and knowledge required, I sometimes lose it--especially if that person will not listen.

Imagine, if you will, someone who claims to be a professional writer but, in their work, often confuses the words its and it's. They are completely different words, both in meaning and grammar.  When this is pointed out to them they get up on their high horse and start making nonsensical claims along the lines of: it's too difficult for most readers to understand the difference, so I don't bother with it. My temperature starts to rise. How dare you claim to be an expert if you can't grasp the basic concepts of your trade! and  You appear to hold your readers in such low esteem that you treat them as though they are incapable of grasping a basic concept in their own language? That's how I think--and that's why I react the way I do sometimes.

So, if you come to this forum wanting to learn and grow as a composer, you are more than welcome and will (I hope) get treated with respect by our members.  But, if you come here claiming to have had many years experience and then demonstrate that you don't know how to notate a simple major or minor scale--and if you refuse to learn--then you are going to get some heat. And, I am not going to apologize for that.

Peace to all!  :)
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 10:59:48 AM »
Again, the problem here is that far too many people think that "being a composer" simply means putting notes down on paper, regardless of how you do it.

There is a myth that all that is required of you to be a composer is the desire to be one.

This leads to people who barely play a musical instrument, or can barely read notes on paper, people who know nothing of musical theory, being under the impression that what they write is of great worth and beyond criticism. All for the simple fact that to THEM, it was an ordeal to get down on paper, or that the melody they jotted down gave them some sort of emotional resonance, or they feel that what they wrote is something "new" because they themselves had never heard of it before.

The problems arise when you point out the flaws in what they have "composed". When you point out that it is all based on the most fundamental or basic of materials. Or that what they view as something so earth-shatteringly new is in fact banally old and overdone.

When someone who is only accustomed to sitting at a keyboard and improvising suddenly falls upon a harmonic movement that earlier had escaped them, they are amazed at their discovery.  It is difficult for them to then learn that what they "discovered" is in fact common place, or even erroneous. This approach to "composition" is what has lead us to so many iterations of the following "chord progression": C major, d minor, e minor, F major, G major... the banality of the parallelism goes unnoticed by someone who lacks the most basic fundamentals of harmony.

Another factor is that far too many people confuse what they read in badly written books as being acceptable. There are far too many poorly engraved manuscripts, scores, and collections. This is particularly the case when one approaches music that is accessible to amateurs. Choral music is rife with appallingly badly engraved music. Sadly, choral music is also rife with appallingly badly written, and most importantly, BANAL music. In a misguided effort to please as many amateur choral singers as possible, there is widespread acceptance of "boring" music within that medium.

This is a topic I could probably go on and on about. It's a great frustration to me, and a tremendous source of annoyance.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

flint

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 08:07:22 AM »
Imagine, if you will, someone who claims to be a professional writer but, in their work, often confuses the words its and it's. They are completely different words, both in meaning and grammar.  When this is pointed out to them they get up on their high horse and start making nonsensical claims along the lines of: it's too difficult for most readers to understand the difference, so I don't bother with it. My temperature starts to rise. How dare you claim to be an expert if you can't grasp the basic concepts of your trade! and  You appear to hold your readers in such low esteem that you treat them as though they are incapable of grasping a basic concept in their own language? That's how I think--and that's why I react the way I do sometimes.
I have similar issues with homonyms. A large percentage of my adult friends are teachers, yet are unable to use 'to, too, two' or 'there, their, they're' correctly.

This is what is taught in first grade! They teach these children and yet cannot use it properly themselves!

If I had hair, I'd rip it out!
"Music is like wine; the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

Ron

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 10:05:36 AM »
In my last year of teaching English composition and literature we hired a new English teacher for the junior grades. I noticed that he had a folder on which he had written Shakespear. When I passed by his classroom one day I saw that he had the word metaphore written on the chalkboard. In all fairness, he might have been tring to teach them how not to spell those words.

All through our children's education my wife and I had to correct errors that the teachers were presenting as facts. My wife was especially adamant. She fought an elementary school for three years over their teaching of American Thanksgiving traditions instead of Canadian ones.  This one was especially bad: our oldest walked out of a high school biology class and refused to return until the teacher apologized and corrected a statement he made about homosexuality being a crime against nature. Though we backed him up 100%, we stayed out of it and let him handle it. He sat out of class for a week, but he eventually won his point and the teacher not only apologized, but did not have his contract renewed at the end of the year.

Don't let me get started on a French teacher who tortured our youngest for three years in high school. I finally demanded of the principal that either she let this woman go and hire someone who could actually speak French or I was going to launch a public lawsuit. This was in a Quebec school, by the way. We moved away, but I heard that the teacher retired the following year.

I can sympathize with adults who think that alot is a word used to describe a large amount of something, as I have seen notes from teachers containing that word!

Another thing that gets me going: people who use the word myself instead of me (e.g. Send your reply to myself.) or seem to have a problem using the pronoun me (e.g. Please give the money to him and I.) I have a letter from a lawyer containing those errors.

Apologies to any teachers out there (I am sure that you are exceptional), but I was one myself for eight years and can attest that of all the groups who graduate from university, teachers, as a whole, are the poorest educated. Bloody shame!

I always figured that when I got old I would become a curmudgeon shaking his cane at an illiterate and uneducated world, but I never imagined it would happen to me years before I need a cane to get around with.

While we are on the subject, I was taught how to notate all major and minor scales when I was in elementary school.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 10:30:21 AM by Ron »
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Mephisto

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 09:16:00 PM »
Quote
Another thing that gets me going: people who use the word myself instead of me (e.g. Send your reply to myself.) or seem to have a problem using the pronoun me (e.g. Please give the money to him and I.) I have a letter from a lawyer containing those errors.
LOL, me, myself and I respectfully cannot bolive wat iz myself readin. XD
Ok, so jokes on the side, but what I just heard (read actually) are some really serious issues. I can understand when some of my friends who know only a few words of English (and half of there vocabulary consists of swear words) are unable to spell some words correctly, or are unable to compose a meaningful sentence. Its actually funny. But hearing a teacher, or a professor in Canada, the USA or the UK isn't able to register some basic errors and deal with them...well...wow, don't know what else to say.
As for myself (me, myself and I that is cuz i speak in the name of all of us XD) I apologize in advance if I make some grammatical errors, or write down some words in a strange way. I believe the roots of this problem are buried deep down in my gaming history, which means internet slang and all that. I am doing my best trying to "fix" those problems, and the occasional problem of writing unclear and meaningless sentences. Please correct me if I do any of those things.

M


Djard

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2011, 12:29:16 PM »
Regarding the original post, history is replete with geniuses that fell short in the most simple areas (Albert Einstein comes to mind). We might well have had opportunity to admonish the likes of mighty Beethoven at a forum like this.

According to Dr. Jamison, clinical psychologist and distinguished lecturer at Harvard, in her interesting book Touched by Fire, the overwhelming majority of the greatest achievers in science, art and music have been Bipolar disordered people.

I think we are least tolerant of human frailty when it is of the type that touches our own psychopathology. As a clinical psychologist myself, I have never met anyone whom I could not diagnose with at least one personality disorder and observe a goodly number of active ego-mechanisms of defense...myself (sigh!) included.

May I say that the better we learn to suffer apparent fools gladly, the more we shall grow as cultured humans. Juz my 'pinion.

Ron

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2011, 02:14:04 PM »
Hi Djard,
I am aware that many people with high IQ's have problems in other areas of their lives. I never met anyone in Mensa who I would call even close to normal. But that's not what I was objected to in the first place. What gets me is people who claim to be proficient in something but who don't know the fundamentals. I've just met too many of them to have any patience left.  When they try to take over a forum and expect us to celebrate their ignorance, I get a might peeved.
Peace!
Ron
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Djard

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2011, 04:08:00 PM »
Hi Ron,

I appreciate what you share.

For decades I have had unique opportunities to study anger, especially when privileged to work with couples in conflict. Of the several thousand cases or so, literally not once did I notice an absence of pride, which is extolled in our society yet unfailingly more devisive and destructive than any other matter. Only in humility can we truly listen. Just as a broken clock is correct twice a day, so too even a fool can teach us something valuable now and then.

To move from being a victim of someone's pathological need to be "right" to problem solver, humans must firstly yield to the humbling fact that they do not understand why the offensive individual needs to behave so puffed up; otherwise we become emotionally incarcerated...in a prison without bars... locked into an immunosuppressive state without awareness of the key in our pocket. And suffer needlessly we do.

At age 66 and with five languages; a Ph.D., C.A.P., B.C.I.A.C., C.B.T.; two fellowships; and other accomplishments that may be regarded as worthy, I consider it a far greater accomplishment to be able to love the unlovable, like the anal people who, through their unpleasant, neurotic behavior advertise their desperate need for unconditional love. I can't say I always succeed.

But I'm getting plenty of practice at maintaining emotional equillibrium in the face of a near-constant barrage of vitriolic responses to my posting of President Obama's Freudian slip on YouTube. Who knows, the $ from AdSense for that posting may yet fund my upgrade of Finale to version 2012.

Ron

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 07:52:06 AM »
Well Djard, you have me beat in all areas. I'm only 65 (though I'll achieve 66 in three weeks), have one and a half languages, a BA, DipEd, DCO, no fellowships (though I did teach an undergrad course), but have done pretty well for someone on his own since 14 and crippled with serious emotional difficulties.  ;)

I hear what you are saying, and, yes, I have truly tried to love the unlovable. However, I still find it very difficult to accept those who turn their backs on people in need, misogynists, homophobes, child molesters, frauds, etc. It's always been a challenge for me.

There is something in my background that makes me overreact to those I see as bullies. It is nearly impossible for me to keep quiet when someone says, "I have a PhD in Literature; therefore every pronouncement I make about any other topic is absolutely correct and unquestionable."  They may as well wave a red flag in front of a bull (and, I do know that that is a myth).

I know that I am arrogant at times.  :-[

Some of my earliest memories of growing up involve discovering that adults could be wrong about factual matters. It made for a very lonely existence on my part.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 07:59:44 AM by Ron »
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Djard

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 11:27:01 AM »
Hi Ron,

I was aware of your suffering long ago (it takes one to know one). What liberated me from carrying so much emotional baggage was a spiritual rebirth, which required a most humiliating experience. Since then I have been able to finish whatever I start in music. A miracle for me. Before gaining insight that I couldn't see as well as I thought I could see--out of the fog as I call it--I was great at starting projects. But I never could finish anything. Nada! How I got published is mystery: in the Australian National Library sits a classical composition of mine that I would be embarrassed for even a first year student to see. Years later I re-wrote the piece in defiance.

Yes, I believe you are quite correct about titles. Some of the most highly credentialed people have caused more grief in the world than can be measured. Indeed the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In the Bible I found a bit of wisdom that has withstood the test of time: "The truth shall make ye free." No question that when we properly understand stupidity, bullying, and such objectional behavior, we are immediately freed from defensiveness and become prepared for problem solving. Oh that is such a relief from the otherwise emotional incarceration.

Now let me offer you--or anyone else interested--a riddle: If I say that we cannot overcome our anger yet assert that we can overcome our anger, how is it possible for this statement to be true? Here's a clue: the longest journey by far is from the head to the heart.

Ron

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 11:31:27 AM »
All I can promise is that I try.
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 11:42:57 AM »
Yes, I believe you are quite correct about titles. Some of the most highly credentialed people have caused more grief in the world than can be measured. Indeed the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I get the impression here, however, that you may not be understanding Ron's point.

please correct me, Ron, if I am wrong, but I believe your pet peeve is with people with any sort of UNrelated degree, who make pronouncements in a non-related field as though they were also experts in that field.

For example, an engineer making all-encompassing statements on music, despite his complete lack of any form of accreditation in music.

We have had people on this forum, in the past, come here and make grand statements on music, and pronounce judgment on all who dared disagree with them, yet these people had not a single iota of actual musical training to back those grand pronouncements.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 12:30:38 PM »
You got it, Michel.
Ron
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Djard

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 10:15:05 PM »
No doubt I have utterly failed to be clear or helpful to someone I have grown to like.

Michel.R.E

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Re: Why I Sometimes React the Way I Do.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 10:26:34 PM »
I don't think you failed to be clear, nor do I think your comments were unhelpful.
They were obviously very well-intentioned.

I just thought it might be best if people were on the same page within the discussion in question.

You mentioned "highly credentialed people" having caused "more grief in the world than can be measured".

My only concern here was that this is actually not the same issue as what Ron had brought up. I didn't mean it to sound like a reprimand of any sort.

if I were to paraphrase your comment and make it more suited to Ron's particular point, it might be:

"Completely uncredentialed people, through their arrogance and exaggerated sense of self-worth, causing more grief in the world than can be measured".

"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"