For the last few months I have been doing a lot of research on various schools, looking into their doctorate programs as I am applying this year. My plan of action was basically to find the teachers whom I wanted to study with and apply to those schools. So I began with dozens of schools and slowly started forming a final list. Well, and here comes the beef, in my searching and listening to various teachers across the country I became very disappointed in what was out there. I always knew bad teachers and bad composers existed but I never knew to what extent.
For example, I noticed several times situations where major universities had some big name composers teaching there. And some younger guys teaching that got all three of their degrees at that school and sound exactly like their teachers. And on occasion, where they didn't sound like their teachers, they were just horrible composers. And this occurs all over the place and at some of the biggest name schools in the country. It was just ridiculous. I can't even explain the disappointment I felt in those programs and those teachers. Not that I was naive to these situations and that they existed, but I never thought it was to this extent at this level. Part of me thinks, "hey, if these guys can do it, why can't I?". But I also realize so much of this is a game and who you know and where you have been. At times it almost seems like it doesn't even matter if you have the skills to write on this level.
So this began another thought process that I have had a few times in my life. Simply, that I don't really know, or understand what is good. I hear so much music that people say is good, and I feel that it just isn't, and this covers many genres. And it goes vice versa. But in either case I suppose it doesn't matter, as if I don't like it, I don't have to listen to it and so forth. But it does beg the question to everyone, "How do you know what is good?" Not just what you like, but what is good. This also came up in a conversation about computer music and its merits and faults etc... but that is an entirely different post.