A challenging hybrid semester at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf has begun. There is a sustainable hygiene concept which allows most of my classes in analysis, basic elements of composition, and aural skills to be held face-to-face. In addition, I offer an elementary music theory seminar which features a dual approach. Some 70 freshmen in the musicology minor at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf will either attend classroom teaching in three groups of 15, or take part in an asynchronous online lecturing programme with a choice of Teams and Moodle coursework and an additional OER tutorial. This construction will enable everyone to earn the desired credits during this term. However, should the governmental measures of infection prevention be extended to universities once again, we might be obliged to move all classes online—I am confident that there will be appropriate solutions for all courses and exams.
After one year of deprivation of active vocal practice, I have finally found a new choir. Vokalsystem Berlin, a youthful and ambitious ensemble led by my dear colleague Johannes David Wolff, accepted me as a new member. What a delightful perspective to perform music by Maurice Duruflé, Anders Edenroth, Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, and Yannick Wittmann soon! Hope it will turn out to happen as intended.
Yesterday I was elected as a board member of Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, the professional association of German-speaking music theory. My areas of responsibility are lobbying for the freelance academic teaching staff in music theory and ear training, as well as to support the international activities of the GMTH. If you want to address any of the aforementioned topics, please feel free to get in touch! I look forward to collaborating with my fellow board members, Florian Edler, Sigrun Heinzelmann, Thomas Wozonig, Julia Deppert-Lang, Hans Aerts, and Derek Remeš, during the next two years.
I have always found it fascinating that there is no direct correlation between a singer’s visual appearance, sexual identity, role identity on stage, voice type, and tessitura. Isn’t it wonderful that the shades of the human voice are just as diverse as the varieties of human gender, age, and ethnicity? Anything is possible in that transcendent continuum of phoniatric functionality. In my opinion, the utter beauty of a voice comes from the multitude of influences that it is affected by. The more the aesthetic and physical preconditions intermingle, the more captivating the result.
There seems to be no common sense of what it means to promote oneself as a classical musician. Music universities largely fail to offer valuable advice on how graduates can generate meaningful outreach as entrepreneurs, and so they apparently cannot help but resort to the mechanisms they experience in the world of commercial music business. That means: Visual appearance is what counts and is given the greatest attention. Legions of performers of classical music pretend to make the world a better place through their music, but what they essentially do is trying to look good in their latest concert announcement, home video, or photo session.
Dear fellow musicians, what about using your social media coverage to support those many colleagues who struggle to make a living from freelance musicianship? Why would you strive for physical beauty, given that so many of the people in the business fail to get paid properly? I’d suggest you reach out to your followers in order to develop a consciousness of professional representation, and focus your efforts to achieve political awareness of the desolate state of musicianship itself. If you could imagine directing your attention to these elementary issues instead of your looks, people would even more happily support your career. Do not compete for superficial compliments but for professional recognition. Ditch your glamorous Instagram profile today, join and engage in a professional body instead, and become an ambassador of your occupation’s welfare. Your help is much appreciated.