Job vacancy: Professor of Choir, Music Ed & Social Justice

Portland State University is hiring a voice and music teacher. But candidates must also teach an unrelated discipline.

That’s what it has come to.

Read the job spec here.

 

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    • Hello!! And have a lovely day yourself!! I like to quote Dr. Thomas Sowell, “if you look for racism everywhere you’ll see it nowhere”.

      Perhaps watch some Dark Horse Podcasts from Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein on how ‘pleasant’ it is living in Portland now. Oh, BTW, Bret is ‘centre Left’ – but please don’t let facts get in the way. Another Tom Sowell gem: “the left doesn’t like facts because they find them emotionally unsatisfying”.

  • How carefully have you read this? My understanding (from a very quick read) is they would like someone who is comfortable doing outreach work, someone who wants to bring music to communities normally cut off from access to a broad range of cultural events. Someone who wants to introduce a new generation of music educators and performers to making music more accessible. Why does anything new, anything that is trying to make music more accessible in ways you perhaps have not thought of have to be greeted with cynicism rather than interest?

    • You see the game here is to complain about how no one appreciates classical music these days, and then decry any attempt to do anything about it.

    • Because it is invariably wrapped up on the execrable livery of activism from social justice warriors. Nasty people who’ve traded on a one-worthy idea about equality to leverage advantage for themselves.

      Social justice panjandrums have infected the institutions and created gravy trains. Didn’t see that coming!!!

    • I agree with this view. It sounds to me like an academic form of the sort of outreach companies, orchestras, groups do in communities, with a particular focus to try to get the music out to minority communities. Aimed to do the very thing most of us urge every time some real or perceived racial issue comes up — start with education. And this time in the hands of professional music educators.

      There are often stories of choral activity doing some wonders to human morale, behaviour, and more in unlikely places — like prisons, underprivileged community centres, even the barrios. I hope the focus of this has been well-thought out and done in liaison with the communities in question. But I have no reason to doubt it.

      I think the applicants to this post just need to see that classical music, in order to survive, needs to reach more of the people around its halls, and the best way to do that is to get it back into their vocabulary. There will still be positions in the ivory tower for those whose purist concerns are best addressed in library and studio.

      This is the sort of initiative that will build the future audiences, as well as spread the word of the good that music can do. What’s not to like?

      • “…working to serve marginalized communities, including the houseless, through choral music.”

        That would be interesting. However, is this instructor to go out to homeless encampments and cobble together a choral group? If so, that would be nice. What exactly would he/she be doing in and for the university? Would the instructor be teaching students how to create and lead a chorus of homeless folks? I don’t understand.

        • “…with an eye toward the future of innovation and social justice in the field of choral music” — I think they’re looking for someone who can with ideas for how to make such a thing happen.* There may be people out there who have already given some thought to such matters.

          The job description doesn’t actually mention teaching students anything about social justice (although one would hope they might learn by example).

          *(Another possibility is that a command has come down from the higher-ups saying this must happen, and the poor music department has to come up with something; the higher-ups may have been commanded in turn by the even-higher-ups, e.g. the state legislature. That happens.)

      • The problem is that orchestras and ensembles have been trying to widen their audience since the 1980s. Nothing has worked. This effort, too, is doomed to failure, as by the time the kids reach college they are already pretty well-cooked in terms of their musical taste—and their tastes are for The Weeknd rather than, say, Mozart. I’m not rehearsing the simplistic thesis that pop music is less than classical music: I’m saying that for whatever reason, people seem unable to embrace lots of different alternatives. The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to try to remake classical music so that it’s more palatable to the so-called new audiences that are being courted. That is a fool’s errand.

    • Uh, did you look at the job title? “Asst Visiting Prof of Choir, Music Ed & ***Social Justice***”

      Leftwing extremists have invaded every corner of Western life and are now enacting their own Gleichsaltung.

    • From the job posting:

      The successful candidate will have a firm foundation in Choral Music Education, Choral Conducting, and a strong background in public school choral programs with an eye toward the future of innovation and social justice in the field of choral music.

      The candidate will be responsible for significant community outreach, working to serve marginalized communities, including the houseless, through choral music. Portland State’s motto: “Let Knowledge Serve the City” as well as initiatives supporting this work will guide and support the candidate as they design and implement a musical model in the community.

      The job title is “Asst Visiting Prof of Choir, Music Ed & Social Justice,” but there’s nothing about having to “teach an unrelated discipline.”

      (But Simon, to answer your question: if it attracts racist trolls it will get more clicks. We’ve seen that demonstrated here time and again.)

    • It does say “social justice in relation to choral music” and then go on to explain the expectation of outreach and widening participation. Maybe a slightly odd way of referring to it, but once you see the context it is all pretty reasonable.

      Seems like the headline is over excited because NL didn’t read the details.

      • Outreach and education are proven ways in which we reduce inequality, economically and socially. Please do not compartmentalize and reduce these concepts into caricatures of the right.

      • The are not the same to me either. But the job advert uses the term Social Justice while the relevant content is about outreach. So to the advertiser, perhaps they are the same.

  • Yes, heaven forbid that the person in this position should also bring something of value and relevance to the greater community outside the university itself. It might result in the much-dreaded “Diversity!”

    • Pure diversity is a positive thing. The narrow minded, leftist version is clearly the problem.

      Simply substitute the offensive, overt liberal dog whistle to “& Conservative Values”. Let’s see how academia receives that!

      Those on the left are too insecure and emotionally unstable to afford measured responses to “diverse” viewpoints which diverge from their narrow perspectives any longer. They can’t allow respect anyone for fear of commitment and predictably repeat poor choices. i.e. Instead they resort to self indulgent, criminal acts as everyone witnessed during the pandemic and embrace victimhood over independence.

      It’s also quite amusing that the livid children who bear immense student loan debt haven’t figured something out. Their professors and faculty are the ones financially abusing them as they are actually CAPITALISTS! The six-figure debt they’re stuck with for life was created by the DEMOCRATS who are teaching them to hate conservatives; not Republicans or recently Trump. Where exactly do they think it mystically came from?? Now all they have is senile Biden and his utopian promises. He already eviscerated the SLD promise clearly stating to a woman no less “I’m not going to make that happen” when asked about the $50K promise and it’s timeline. $10K is all these little indoctrinated kids can hope for now.

      Even CNN is angry and “troubled” Biden went against Democrats!!
      https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/22/opinions/student-loan-debt-biden-yu/index.html

      Well, Biden co-sponsored your pain and suffering.
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/02/joe-biden-student-loan-debt-2005-act-2020
      “Until 2005, private student loans were eligible for bankruptcy protections just like other forms of private credit. But in that year Congress passed the ‘Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act’, a law that made it vastly more difficult for struggling former students to rebuild their lives by discharging the debts and starting over.”

      Trusted source!!
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/27/biden-bankruptcy-reform/
      “Biden co-sponsored an early version of the 2005 bill and was thanked on the Senate floor by Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) for working “tirelessly for years” on the legislation.”

      That’s right you “college-educated”, sanctimonious boys and girls…JOE screwed you over in ‘05 yet nobody ever TAUGHT you about this. LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The successful candidate needs to demonstrate the ability to reach out to the homeless via choral music. Pretty cynical. Read “Major Barbara” by GBS. (A Bible in one hand and a slice of bread in the other.)

  • If you *actually* read what’s been linked to you’ll quickly see that it is a choral position with a commitment to DEI. This is no different than many of us who are actively teaching – with the addition of intentionality. It’s critical to student learning to be intentional.

    There is nothing here to get excitable about beyond the pleasure of seeing positive change being acknowledged in our discipline.

    And if you see a position like this (or, and I’ll just pick an example at random here, say Prof. Ewell’s call for an inclusive pedagogy) as zero-sum, then I’d encourage you to reflect upon your own commitment to the arts supporting all of us.

    • “Positive change” = privileged white dudes assuaging their guilt. Window dressing. Trying to sell music the way you might designer accessories.

  • The image attached to this piece is in very poor taste. I clicked on the link to see if it is embedded in the job description. It appears not to be. The people in this image are dead and yes they could be said to be victims. By associating them with what is fairly crude clickbait is just cheap and insensitive.

  • The job description looks pretty standard to me with the exception of “The candidate will be responsible for significant community outreach, working to serve marginalized communities, including the houseless, through choral music. Portland State’s motto: ‘Let Knowledge Serve the City’ as well as initiatives supporting this work will guide and support the candidate as they design and implement a musical model in the community.” Even that sentence is not uncommon in some form these days. It looks like the school is taking a stand on expanding the reach of music experience and study, and I’m all for that – it is a vicious circle that comes back to haunt us if we don’t reach out and prepare our future educators in realms where they need to be active – imo. I think it is a win/win all around for many reasons including child development, social awareness and equity, music in a therapeutic form, and just decency toward other human beings who are less fortunate or who have been held back – and dare I mention just bringing the joy of singing to people of all ages? If a junior colleague of mine expressed interest in reaching out in this way, I would support it 100% and work with them to make sure they could accomplish the goal and have the goal serve their career trajectory as well. /sermon.

  • If we would all just agree that Oxford commas are essential to meaning, this would be a lot clearer. Having perused the job posting, I’d say the job is for 1.) Choir (& Social Justice) and 2.) Music Ed & Social Justice, and not 1.) Choir, 2.) Music Ed, and 3.) Social Justice.

    “The successful candidate will have a firm foundation in Choral Music Education, Choral Conducting, and a strong background in public school choral programs with an eye toward the future of innovation and social justice in the field of choral music.

    The candidate will be responsible for significant community outreach, working to serve marginalized communities, including the houseless, through choral music. Portland State’s motto: “Let Knowledge Serve the City” as well as initiatives supporting this work will guide and support the candidate as they design and implement a musical model in the community.

    The candidate will conduct student choirs, teach choral music education methods and conducting courses, and work with the Director of Choral Activities in recruiting for and supporting the choral program. Additional music education courses may be assigned by the Director of the School of Music and Theater.

    Portland State’s College of the Arts has made a strong commitment to anti-racism and is seeking faculty whose life-experience, research and teaching can advance this work throughout our campus and community. This position is one of three full-time positions (Choral Music/Social Justice, Opera/Voice, and Music Education) open in the School of Music and Theater through which we intend to advance our work promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.”

  • That summary is entirely mistaken.

    They are looking for someone who is social justice aware-and-able in order to further community contact with their musical endeavors. They are not being asked to teach a dedicated social justice course. It is clear that the choral conducting is the primary skill they are needing to find.

    I’d say anyone directing a conventional concert choir these days better have some great social outreach skills to get ANYONE interested in joining or attending.

  • One thing’s for sure: in spite of what the job listing says, PSU isn’t very close to the Portland Symphony! The listing seems to have confused the Portland Symphony (in Maine) with the Oregon Symphony (based a few blocks from PSU).

  • Mr. Lebrecht, I suggest that *you* read the job spec there. There’s nothing in it about teaching in any unrelated discipline (including any you may be alluding to but won’t mention). The university *does* seem to want to reach underserved communities via musical performance, and *does* seem to want to hire someone with relevant experience.

  • Portland State is not a serious school. It’s basically a community college that offers degrees, somehow. You can just imagine the lazy kids who take out loans to pay full tuition to go here because mom wanted them out of her basement.

  • So, you don’t think someone might be a good choral music educator that has an interest and background in social justice? And as to unrelated, you might want to read a bit about Aaron Copland.

  • When things go too far, we have to count on free-thinking women and men to speak up, regardless of their politics.

  • Leftism, which destroys everything it touches, has invaded every American institution.
    And, to borrow from “Bill” – here come the defenses of something that only, 5-10 years ago would have been seen by an enormous majority of people as an absolutely preposterous, ludicrous, laughable, and poisonous conflation of magisteria.

    I cannot wait until this university collapses into bankruptcy.

  • I’m familiar with universities that have well-established weekend, evening, or summer music programs for the underserved in their communities. There are often bands, orchestras, and choirs. Music students assist and gain valuable teaching experience, and it’s a win-win for everyone. I don’t think there would be any disagreement if the Portland State job description said the following: Spend x hours per week running the choir component of our community-based music program, enlisting music education students to assist in these efforts.

    Perhaps Portland State runs this type of program, but I haven’t seen any evidence that one exists. The job description contains this poorly-written paragraph:

    The candidate will be responsible for significant community outreach, working to serve marginalized communities, including the houseless, through choral music. Portland State’s motto: “Let Knowledge Serve the City” as well as initiatives supporting this work will guide and support the candidate as they design and implement a musical model in the community.

    Exactly what are the initiatives that support this work? Will the university provide any kind of support in these outreach efforts, or will the visiting assistant professor be on his or her own? I suspect it will be the latter. If I were looking for a university choral conducting position, I’d steer clear of this one.

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