Thoughts on The Voice and other competitions

Three things bother me about The Voice and other similar shows. The first is the glorification of mediocrity and imitation. Granted, every so often they unearth a unique talent, but for every one of those there are a hundred bartenders, schoolteachers and accountants who aren’t that good, and rarely bring something original to the show. Especially when you consider that folks like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Chaka Kahn, Bill Champlin, Kenny Loggins, Sheryl Crow, Patti Austin, John Mayer, Sting — and another hundred supremely talented songwriters and performers were skipped over to get to the bartenders and…

The Demise of the Art Institute

I think shadenfreude is taking delight at the misery of others, usually your enemies. I think there’s a corollary where you leave an enterprise – either voluntarily or not – and the thing which was running well when you left then falls apart. It’s a roundabout way of getting a compliment that they couldn’t get along without you. Happens in sports a lot. So when I left the Art Institute of CA / San Diego in April of 2015 there was a slight tinge of “gee I hope they miss me.” And over the next few years my colleagues…

Social Media – should I stay or should I go ?

I was very lucky to be teaching in a Web Design program (at the Art Insitute of CA / San Diego) in the “naughts” (2000-2009) when social media showed up. I didn’t have to wait for an article in WIRED to see what was new – my students were swimming in it 24/7. Fast forward a few years and I had moved from Web to Audio and it was a challenge to keep students off Facebook during class time. In fact, there was an idea – to call it a movement would be giving it too much credit – to…

Teaching Online

I just finished a very refreshing eight weeks of teaching Scoring & Sound Design online. My students included a computer science major, a music major, a theater major, and a media major. When I envisioned this class, I thought it would be popular with filmmakers and people who love movies, and I designed the assignments so you didn’t have to actually compose music or score a movie clip – it’s more conceptual. But when the students bring a deeper understanding of music to the assignments, and we can speak the language of music without alienating the other students -…

Ringtones

I bit the bullet over the summer and installed a Garmin 750, along with two G5s, a JPI 830 and a Garmin 345 to comply with the ADS-B mandate. The panel was upgraded in 1998 – two years before I acquired the airplane – with a then-state-of-the-art King stack. So it was time. The 750 comes with Push-to-Command, so you can switch pages and displays and frequencies by keying the button and speaking the correct phrase. And it talks back. If I say, for instance, “say time to destination” it will speak into my headphones. And I can stream…