Welcome to the second iteration of this blog.
Why restart this site? And why now? It’s simple, really: I need to jump start my music theory writing. Allow me to explain.
Finding balance in life is proving a mighty challenge, especially now that I’ve got a family of my own. Family will always come first, but because I am the primary breadwinner in my family, I cannot afford to shrug off my professional responsibilities. And, as I am now discovering, achieving a balance within each portion of my life is also difficult proposition. With a lot of discussion, planning, and trial and error, my wife and I have done a great job so far at finding time to be husband and wife amidst the hurricane of being Daddy and Mommy. Professionally, however, I’ve struggled.
This summer was a wonderful and much needed break from all things professional. I’m thankful for the time off, but now I’m having trouble getting back into a research groove because I was checked out for so long. Professionally, I consider myself a teacher first and a researcher second. I’m fortunate that FGCU values teaching as the most important aspect of being on the faculty. But, no matter how valued teaching is, long-term career stability and mobility are difficult to achieve in the field of music theory without paying attention to the other two academic pillars: scholarship and service. At this stage of my career, publication is the name of the game. And, the thing is, I love analyzing music. There’s a bevy of analytical riches buried in U2’s music, just waiting for someone to discover them and write about them. It’s just that I’m so mentally exhausted after teaching and planning that I’ve put my analytical writing on the proverbial back burner. I’ve taught these class before, so I didn’t anticipate teaching and planning to be as tiring as it has turned out to be. We even changed textbooks to one with which I am quite familiar because I used it at my previous institution. But, the change in textbooks was my suggestion, so I’m nervous about the success of its implementation. In addition to the textbook change, I’m also anxious because I’m trying several new things this semester: integration of Canvas, the University’s online system, into the daily class flow; extensive use of an iPad in class; a new organizational system for my lesson plans. Nervousness at the beginning of the school year is normal, but the anxiety about my new workflow has stymied my motivation to do research. I’m finally settling into it, though, so now is the time to get back into research game.
Which brings me back to the reason I’m restarting this blog. When I was younger, my dad told me repeatedly told me that I could improve my writing by reading more and writing regularly. 25 years later, I’m finally going to start following my his advice. I want to use this blog as a creative outlet (sometimes, I need more than 140 characters) that will steer me back into a research routine. Hopefully, writing begets (good) writing. I figure that if I can get the creative writing juices flowing again at least on a semi-regular basis, then I can find the inspiration/motivation to analyze music and write about it. I’ve been thinking about getting back into this site for a while now, but never could justify the time and energy it requires. Not only do I want to write, I need to write. I’m hoping this blog will provide the impetus I need to finish the projects I’ve started and begin new ones.