13 May 2009

Semester is Over

It's probably time to talk a little bit about how my semester went. I re-took my M.A. comprehensive exams. I did well enough last year that the professors would allow me to leave with an M.A., but the exams also serve as screening for PhD candidates, and they thought I wasn't ready for PhD work. So I asked to take the exam again, and this time they said they were pleased with my work and thought I was ready to go forward to PhD work.

I had three classes this semester: a survey of music in the 19th century, a course on Renaissance performance practice, and a seminar on postmodernism and concert music. The Renaissance class was relatively easy for me, since I've done a fair amount of coursework in that area before with both that professor and her husband (they have similar teaching styles). The 19th century stuff was kind of hard for me because I'm not fond of symphonic music, and the Romantic sentimentality gets on my nerves after a while. The postmodernism course was also difficult, because at first I was unfamiliar with the vocabulary of postmodernism, and later because it prompted a lot of self-searching about how I am and am not postmodern. I think the problem is that I like a lot of the aesthetic end-products of postmodernism, but I don't agree with the ideology that leads to them. That might be a post for some other day.

The semester is over now. It was unusually stressful. Difficult classes, the comprehensive exams, being sick and having my car in the shop, and then the loss of my grandmother. As I told my dad yesterday, I feel like I've been through the forge. But I also have a greater sense of accomplishment than I ever remember feeling at the end of a school year, and that's good.

I only have one more year of course work to go, then it's all dissertation. We might move out of Los Angeles then. My parents have been helping us, but probably won't be able to help anymore after next school year, and unless we get better jobs we won't be able to afford living in L.A. Too bad--we really like our parish, and are not likely to find another place where we can direct our own choir and have so much leeway to do the music we like. But I think my husband won't miss the warm weather, and neither of us will miss the traffic and the roads that so badly need repair.

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