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Avior Byron will present a paper 'Huberman as Beethoven' in the 2010 Israel Musicology Conference.   

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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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What is THE best way to find scholarships?

Music University on the web

Being a young music scholar in Israel is almost impossible. In other counties it is also very hard. A few words about the situation in Israel, which could serve as a case study. There are only five small universities: Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv University, Haifa University, Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. There is only one musicological department in Jerusalem which has only four scholars who are there on a permanent basis and there is something almost non existent in Bar-Ilan. In Tel-Aviv the department was closed about two years ago because some, of I have heard, played with the University’s money and lost it in the stock exchange! Haifa and Ben-Gurion have no department of musicology. Moreover, the tendency to cut budgets in social sciences makes the future not very optimistic.

How young scholars react

The reaction of young music scholars is one of the three: (1) build (usually false) hopes that one day they will be part of one on the few Israeli music departments. Some of them even agree to teach for free (I know this as a fact in the Bar-Ilan music department)! (2) They leave Israel and go to work in America or Europe; (3) They give up the profession all together and keep it as a hobby.
This is a grave situation since it casts doubts on the future of Israeli’s music culture. I have written in a post Some thoughts on the Israel Musicological Society’s website  that without people writing quality books and article on music, our music culture will slowly die.

Teach and write on the web

What can one do about this situation? Here is one idea that might work. Imagine that you could make a course on the web. Let say, a course about Harmony or the history of music. You would sit down once a week for several hours and prepare your course/s. Then you will write down the main ideas of your lesson in a text that will about be 500 – 1500 words long (or longer if you like). As time will pass you will find that instead of 5 or 10 people sitting in you class, as one can find in real universities in Israel, you will have 30 people reading your lesson every week and commenting and asking questions. As time will pass (let say two years) there will be 300 people every week reading and reacting to your each of your lessons.

Teach music for Money

Moreover, you will receive some money from the advertisements on the pages of your lessons. So from the long-term perspective, the web will pay you more than most universities pay these days.

The problems

Music scholars are usually not technical people. They find it hard to open websites like my own and some even fear technology. They are also not educated with relation to the internet world. Most of them are not aware that people spend more and more time on the web while music departments in universities are growing smaller and smaller.
Some scholars feel that the web is only for common people. They feel that high level writing and good ideas can be found only in scholarly music journals. My personal experience is that there is lots of rubbish on the web and in music journals. One can occasionally find very interesting things in music journals, and equally – on the web. The fact that leading music department are opening online music journals is telling. You can find also intersting music links to website for scholars and search engines like google scholar and google books.

A possible solution

If you want to try to open a course on the web you are welcome to receive free advice from me on how to open your own website. You are also welcome to do it on my website, if your course subject is somehow related to performance, composition or theory of classical music. I welcome other fields like popular music, jazz, ethnomusicology, etc. If you decide to publish your course on my site you will receive all of the money from clicks on advertisements on your pages. You will receive detailed monthly information concerning how many people read your course pages, how long they stayed on the page and in what city in the world they live. Think about it: when you prepare one lesson in a class you receive a one time payment which is very poor. On the web you will receive monthly payments for years.
I am aware that blogging and courses on the web is not a perfect solution. However, I truly believe that the world of scholarship is going to change drastically during the next fifty years due to the web. Be one of the first people to join this revolution.


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