Guitar player presents celebrity charity auctions on ebay

Guitar Player is proud to announce an online charity auction event featuring autographed guitars donated by top manufacturers at the 2004 Winter NAMM show. The charity auction event will take place on eBay, and all proceeds will be donated to charities chosen by the artist who signed the instrument.

The Guitar Player auctions go live on April 15th. To place your bid, log on to www.ebay.com/musicalinstruments and select the “Guitar Player Charity Auction” icon. Once you’ve placed your bid, check out the great deals on thousands of other guitars and instruments available on eBay, and visit the new Backstage Lounge, where you’ll find all sorts of helpful content–such as Buyer’s Guides, Star Setups, and a Glossary–provided by Guitar Player, Boss Player, Keyboard, EQ, and Backbeat Books. Your participation is greatly appreciated!

ARTIST: STEVE LUKATHER

Steve Lukather is a founding member of Toto, and one of the most recorded session guitarists of all time. Lukather’s latest solo effort. Santamental [Bop City], is a batch of Christmas chesnuts released in fall of 2003.

Instrument: Ernie Ban/Music Man “Luke” Signature Model A lightweight alder body, rosewood fretboard, and a slim maple neck-with a contour specified by Luke himself!–make this guitar ultra-comfortable to play. Other features include active EMG electronics. Schaller locking tuners, and a Piezo bridge with solid steel saddles.

Charity: The Casey Lee Ball Foundation benefits pediatric kidney research and has raised more than four million dollars. The annual Casey Lee Ball Golf Classic is now in its tenth year, and an increasing number of artists continue to join the cause.

ARTIST: GEORGE LYNCH

George Lynch’s career took flight with the seminal ’80s metal band, Dokken. By the end of the decade, he was calling the shots with his own outfit, the Lynch Mob, and doing solo work. Lynch’s latest release is a collaboration with Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson called Wicked Underground [Spitfire]. www.georgelynch.com

Instrument: ESP LTD GL-600MT ESP produces a range of George Lynch signature models, and the tiger-striped LTD GL-600MT is a replica of one of Lynch’s most recognizable guitars. Features include a maple/maple neck, an original Floyd Rose locking tremolo, and a single Seymour Duncan TB-12 humbucker. www.espguitars.com

Charity: Little Kids Rock Launched in 1996, Little Kids Rock provides free music classes and musical instruments to children in public elementary schools. Its broad popular music curriculum reflects the diverse cultural backgrounds of participating students, who also compose, perform, and record their own music. www.littlekidsrock.com

ARTIST: SLAYER

Slayer cast the mold for speed metal when guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman began tearing up stages together more than 20 years ago, mad 2001’s God Hates Us All proved that the testosterone level remains the same. In 2003 the band celebrated its anniversary with the release of their box set, Soundtrack to the Apocalypse. www.americanrecordings.com/slayer

Instrument: Schecter Diamond Series S-1 Jager CTM

One of only 50 built, this is a custom Jagermeister Music Tour edition of Schecter’s Diamond S-1 guitar, which was signed by all members of Slayer in 2003. It features the Jagermeister logo on the instrument’s mahogany body, and the company’s name is inlayed beautifully on the rosewood fingerboard. www.schecterguitars.com

Charity: Guitars 4 Kids The newly-launched Guitars 4 Kids charity is committed to raising funds for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude’s is one of the world’s premier centers for research and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children, primarily pediatric cancers. www.guitars4kids.com

ARTIST: KAKI KING Kaki King is a hot commodity in the acoustic guitar community, and she has been featured in bath Frets and Guitar Player. Kaki made a breakthrough last year with her homespun finger style and finger-slapping debut, Everybody Loves You [Velour]. She toured constantly and built up enough of a buzz to ink a deal with Epic records. www.kakiking.com

Instrument: Ovation CC057-5 Celebrity 6 String Acoustic/Electric An onboard preamp with 3-band EQ, a super shallow cutaway body type, and a built-in tuner make this acoustic a perfect fit for the stage. Well, according to me, his guitar was the best acoustic guitar at that time, especially famous for its beautiful sounds. A spruce top, walnut bridge, and rosewood fingerboard contribute to a beautiful tone. www.ovationguitars.com

Charity: The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation is New England’s only guide dog school, committed to helping bring increased freedom to the visually impaired. Graduates of Fidelco’s pioneering “In Community” program learn to work with their dogs in their own hometowns, allowing them to remain with their families and at their jobs while training. www.fidelco.org

ARTIST: CHELSEA CONSTABLE

A native of Kingsport, TN, Chelsea is barely a teenager, but the prodigious shredder has already graced the legendary Ryman Auditorium stage in Nashville alongside one of her biggest influences, Steve Morse. She was featured in the Nov. ’02 issue of Guitar Player, and opened the Guitar Player party at Winter NAMM 2004. http//www.peavey.com/artists/browse. cfm/action/info/artist/158/constable.cfm

Instrument: Peavey EVH Wolfgang Special The EVH (Edward Van Halen) Wolfgang Special is beautiful to behold and to play. It features an amber-colored quilt top, special EVH-designed humbuckers, and a patented D-Tuna on the bottom string of the Peavey/Ployd Rose double locking tremolo system that makes drop tuning as simple as turning a knob.

Haneke, ink: the auteur in the academy

Four books, comprising more than twelve hundred pages of reflections on the films and thoughts of Michael Haneke, lie askew on the desk in front of me. Peeking from their covers, yellow Post-it Notes run up and down the volumes’ sides. A quick perusal of the margins reveals penciled notes in my own hand: exclamation points, question marks, sometimes question marks followed by exclamation points. Many considered but, yes, some testy, scribbled comments abound. Clearly, Haneke Studies has ballooned into a minor publishing industry, and anyone wishing to take stock of it has to be willing to commit time and energy comparable to what they may previously have devoted to the lives and works of Orson Welles, Jean Renoir, or Sergei Eisenstein. What should one make of the stunning recent proliferation of academic texts devoted to this Austrian director, whose thirty-plus years of making European “art cinema” has developed over a period when that model was steadily receding from the forefront of the worldwide university discipline of Cinema Studies? (1) And what, if anything, do the diverse approaches to Haneke’s films by his professorial acolytes say about the practice of film criticism today?

For the moment, at least, Haneke’s reputation seems to have reached its apogee. He is one of the last representatives of the great era of German-language art cinema, which began in the mid-1960s, and which entered its death throes after Fassbinder’s drug-induced demise thirty years ago, before, perhaps, breathing its last once Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire hit global movie screens in 1987. Few filmmakers from that explosive, formative era of “Das Neue Kino,” in fact, still command much attention outside the borders of Germany except in German Literature or Film Studies departments. Alexander Kluge has been hors commerce as a filmmaker for a quarter century. Volker Schlondorff has remained content to work rather anonymously at the artier margins of commercial filmmaking for nearly as long. Though once regarded with great promise, Reinhard Hauff, Hans-Jurgen Syberberg, Helke Sander, Edgar Reitz, and Dorris Dorrie have largely disappeared from international view, while today, certainly, only small American movie audiences still eagerly await new work by Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta, or Jean-Marie Straub. Currently, no other contemporary filmmaker of German or Austrian origin–with the notable exception of Werner Herzog–has a claim equal to Haneke’s august stature as an auteur. Haneke’s career is, as Roy Grundmann aptly characterizes it, “anachronistic”: it is a throwback to another age and paradigm of making movies.

In some ways, Haneke was fortunate in being a latecomer. Prior to 1989, he had worked for Austrian and German television, although often at a relatively lavish scale, just as the competition for new viewers heated up in the late 1970s, when pan-European, satellite commercial channels with substantial programming budgets were first introduced in those countries. His own initial efforts for the big screen began only when the New German Cinema was entering its terminal phase, yet Haneke somehow managed to surmount the formidable difficulties bedeviling subsequent European filmmaking that have stymied the careers of many of his peers. Indeed, he has thrived. A surprising number of Haneke’s last half-dozen films, regularly financed by the now inevitable public-private consortiums from several different European countries, have earned him critical as well as box-office successes in world markets. Clearly, his work continues to generate interest in reasonably large audiences who still seek out his brand of “art cinema” as a meaningful vehicle of edifying entertainment.

Art cinema was always distinguished by its passionate commitment to formal innovation and scripts that pronounced on the grandest sorts of ideas. Haneke’s films certainly qualify on both counts. To be sure, Roy Grundmann, Peter Brunette, and Thomas Elsaesser, among the most searching of Haneke’s commentators, do intermittently express a certain ambivalence toward the well-worn themes of his films. After all, Haneke’s signature concern at the beginning of his career–the failures of human relationships in cold, modern urban societies where the ability to communicate has (supposedly) radically atrophied–has been a staple of sociological concerns since the late nineteenth-century publication of Ferdinand Tonnies’s famous tract, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschafi (Society and Community). For most of the contributors in the sixty-six chapters contained in these books under review, however, such a theme does not seem hackneyed at all, but rather the very stuff of which exquisite art cinema cauchemars are made.

It is also true, of course, that Haneke’s themes have developed and matured, especially since what might be thought of as his middle-period films of the 1990s onward. Haneke’s later themes have never achieved the loftiness of Antonioni’s riffs on existential alienation or Bergman’s grappling with the fact of human cruelty, the loss of religious faith, and the inevitability of death. Instead, they echo some of today’s headlines even as they hark back to now classic, neo-Marxist expositions of the dangers posed by the mass media. Going back at least as far as Guy Debord and the Situationists in the 1960s, contemporary media-saturated environments have regularly been charged with derealizing experience in general, diminishing social interactions as well as desensitizing viewers to the violence that inevitably bursts forth under such conditions for the legions of sad, addled watchers addicted to mass-produced TV programs and films. And, in another vein, many European intellectuals have lamented the ways in which their societies have failed to live up to universalist ideals by closing off to “Others” from both outside and inside their cultural borders. Haneke, a former philosophy student, has repeatedly emphasized these themes in his interviews and occasional writings. He has also dramatized them in films like Code Unknown (2000) or Cache (2005), and they clearly have resonated with European and American academics who share his concerns and have read many of the same formative books Haneke has. The result has been an enviable amount of gratifying attention from anxious, generally left-leaning cultural observers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Haneke’s exponents, moreover, find much to praise in his coolly cerebral explorations of film form. His achievements in this regard have also matured, grown more assured since his first television films, though certain fundamental strategies have remained cornerstones of his style from its beginnings. As many of the essayists in these volumes correctly suggest, Haneke’s stylistic embrace of fragmentation, difficulty, and ambiguity is correctly labeled “modernist”–yet another way in which his orientation is, in Grundmann’s phrase, anachronistic in a postmodern age. The episodic, elliptical narratives of early films like The Seventh Continent (1989) or 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994), and even the less radical, but still open-ended plot of his most recent success, The White Ribbon (2009), have garnered for Haneke waves of critical applause that fanned out from Germany through the agency of European and international festivals, principally Cannes, where he has been awarded several of the major prizes. The physical brutality meted out to innocent haute-bourgeois victims during the agonizing long takes of the first, German version of Funny Games (1997) underscored Haneke’s mastery of camera movement, raise en scene, and his astute direction of actors (a skill that receives remarkably little attention in these texts under review), even as it highlighted his clear taste for provoking controversy, indeed outrage, from some spectators. (Consider but one of his shockingly flamboyant, though highly calculated, remarks expressing his intent “to rape the spectator into autonomy.” Indeed.) Many reviewers have also followed Haneke’s lead when in interviews he described the way he has tried to fashion his films as quasimusical orchestrations of varied patterns of shots, objects, and actions–since the 1920s a dream of avant-garde filmmakers and the critics who have applauded them.

Importantly, however, Haneke does not conceive of his formal innovations as mere exercises of art for art’s sake. He conceives of his narratives as relevant allegories of current historical, social, and political concerns, and of his techniques as crucial vehicles to convey them. For example, the studied ambiguity of mediated and “real” images in Cache–explored by Tom Levin in his brilliant essay for Grundmann’s anthology, and by Rosalind Gait and Patrick Crowley in their contributions to the Price/Rhodes collection-artfully meditates on a long-suppressed episode of the wanton murder in 1961 of hundreds of Algerian protesters by French police in the heart of Paris itself. These studied allusions, articulated through such striking means, have burnished Haneke’s leftish political credentials by making plain his longstanding engagement both with neo-Adornoesque media critiques and the fight for multicultural values in a rapidly changing Europe. (2) Such efforts have secured for Haneke a well-cultivated persona as a modernist avatar and the legitimate heir to the great, politically engaged, European art cinema directors before him. His shock of white hair and beard have only enhanced this well-honed image.

No one can question the largeness of ambition animating Haneke’s achievements, and the considerable diversity of perspectives on his oeuvre is evident in these volumes. Roy Grundmann’s edited anthology is extravagantly rich in this respect: it includes no less than twenty-nine critical essays, as well as two interesting texts by Haneke himself translated into English for the first time; a reprint of Christopher Sharrett’s oft-cited interview with the filmmaker; and a new, ranging conversation with Haneke by the editor. Most of the essays were first presented as talks at a Boston University conference in 2007, although their length and the density of the articles’ many footnotes indicate that they have been substantially beefed up for publication (at a rather beefy, price, too).

Although more modestly scaled (and bearing a much lower price tag), the Price-Rhodes collection encompasses fifteen essays addressing a variety of thematic issues, including the lethal violence that suddenly erupts into the stories of so many Haneke films. The texts also offer more general considerations of his cinematic style and his films’ place in the changing philosophical discourses of contemporary Europe. Both anthologies contain welcome information about and analyses of Haneke’s earliest forays into television drama, which have rarely been seen abroad since they were broadcast in the countries that commissioned them. The two individually authored books provide shorter but more comprehensive surveys of the best-known Haneke films. These monographic texts supplement their authors’ more specialized articles in the anthologies. The two book-length accounts of Haneke’s career differ in a crucial respect. Despite its careful attention to pertinent theoretical issues raised by the films, the late Peter Brunette’s compact study seems geared more toward undergraduates, while graduate students and faculty who read German will be better able to negotiate the convolutions of Rutgers University professor Fatima Naqvi’s sophisticated, more theoretically inflected prose.

Even simply listing the various approaches to Haneke’s work contained in these volumes would take up the bulk of the space allotted to me for this review. I therefore can do no more than to briefly mention Roy Grundmann’s fifty-page essay “Haneke’s Anachronism,” which provides a searching overview of Haneke’s directorial career and perceptively frames many of the topics pursued by contributors to his anthology,. Grundmann’s equally long reflections on Haneke’s modernism, “Between Adorno and Lyotard: Michael Haneke’s Aesthetic of Fragmentation,” also can only be referenced here rather than explored in the depth it deserves. Together, certainly, these two texts constitute a virtual stand-alone monograph that explores the theory and formal dimensions, the scope and possible interpretations, of Haneke’s work. For those interested in Haneke’s ongoing projects, these essays will constitute a foundation for much further discussion and debate.

Interdisciplinarity, it seems, is the watchword governing all the approaches to Haneke’s cinema gathered in these books. For many–though certainly not all–authors, it is not enough, apparently, to look closely at the interrelationships of the images and sounds, the edits and camera movements, the raise en scene and performances that Haneke uses to construct the narratives he imagines. Some do, of course, and these are, for me, among the most illuminating contributions. For many of the authors, however, analyzing the works themselves is usually only a jumping-off point toward more distant–sometimes very faraway–intellectual horizons. The disciplines such authors refer to are astoundingly diverse: psychoanalysis, sociology, political science, philosophy, literary theory, and film theory. Brian Price and John David Rhodes introduce their anthology by commenting that most of the essays they reproduce “take up the challenge of Haneke’s work” to offer nothing less than “new theories of culture and the image that speak to questions that must be answered by way of philosophy as much as or more than they must be answered by way of film theory.” This is a tack also taken by some of those contributing to Grundmann’s collection. Such an understanding of what writers supposedly have to do to engage with Haneke’s films, however, constitutes a tall order to fill and bears risks. Stakes are thereby ratcheted up to a pitch encountered infrequently in film writing. A large degree of intellectual showmanship, admittedly not unfamiliar in academic venues, inevitably comes with the territory. The need to locate in Haneke’s pronouncements and his films supposedly decisive insights into philosophical matters (ontological, epistemological, moral, etc.), or into questions of cultural identity conflicts, however, too often leads to claims that strain credibility. The writers tend to overestimate both the quality or importance of individual works as well as their own command of highly specialized disciplines that they import to bolster Haneke’s (and, one suspects, their own) statures. At their worst, these essays should remind us that hagiography is always a lurking danger in academic auteurist studies. Bloated claims and blowsy writing, something to which quite a number of the philosophers or sociologists manque in these anthologies succumb, is too often the result.

A few of Grundmann’s colleagues add interpretive notes that are sometimes oddly out of key in the chorus of writing about Haneke in the United States. Gregor Thuswaldner, for example, poses Haneke as a religious thinker, a dimension that for quite a while has been grist for the mill of several Austrian theologians turned film commentators, although it has not been previously acknowledged very much byAmerican writers. Thuswaldner discourses at length about Jansenism, the seventeenth-century Catholic sect whose philosophical tenets were important to Robert Bresson, whom Haneke claims as a major influence on his work. As his essay continues, however, Thuswaldner backtracks to undermine his own hypothesis. He correctly notes that in Haneke’s world, “organized religion seems like a relic from the past … whose presence is more embarrassing than comforting.” As he also observes, in 71 Fragments the primary Christian symbol of the cross appears as a mere doodle. And one would be hard put, certainly, to find any God references or religious sentiments infiltrating the icy amorality of Funny Games or La Pianiste (2001), although one might argue that something masquerading as religious conviction does reappear in The White Ribbon. A kind of intellectual inertia is at work here that transforms the paucity of such reflections in Haneke’s films into a concerted meditation on faith. Aside from some characters, who are sometimes relatively minor ones at that, and Haneke’s limited, rather rote deployment of Christian symbols, he does not really seem interested in religious belief per se, as were, say, Bresson, Bergman, or Dreyer. Moral issues more general than any particular dogma, however, such as the debased values of modern consumer societies, remain a pertinent topic when discussing his work.

Many of Haneke’s commentators attempt to focus on what they understand as these larger moral-cum-political issues. Unfortunately, in order to define them, the authors often force-march readers through bulky discursive material. This is too often a burdensome imposition. Jorg Mettelmann, for example, rehashes some well-known ideas about Brechtian distanciation in order to suggest that Haneke’s filmmaking goal “is to push alienation to an unprecedented degree of otherness.” To flesh out this rather cryptic, vague conclusion, he then devotes no less than eight long pages to an elaborate, shifting account of melodrama that, in passing, includes reflections on: Arundhati Roy’s comments about George W. Bush; Eva Illouz’s sociology of “emotional capitalism”; the way that Freud, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers allegedly “psychologized” life; constructions of the history, politics, and structural dynamics of melodrama by Linda Williams, Elizabeth Anker, and Peter Brooks; Jean-Francois Lyotard’s critique of Niklas Luhmann’s “depersonalized systems theory,” and so on and on. Such a glut of references bludgeons the reader and only blurs the focus of Mettelmann’s argument about Haneke’s quasi-Brechtian critique of melodrama.

A similar intellectual bloat pervades Brian Price’s essay “Bureaucracy and Visual Style,” also in the Grundmann volume. In order to explain the expressive dimensions of eleven tracking shots in one of Haneke’s lesser works, his TV adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Castle (1997), Price spends eight full pages teasing out Claude Lefort’s theory of bureaucracy, which Price punctuates with asides to Max Weber, Richard Sennett, and Deleuze and Guattari (on rhizomatic form, naturally), before winding up with Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (on the teleological movement of capital). To be sure, Kafka’s novel does evoke–often comically–the frustrations of dealing with institutionalized bureaucracies and the slippery evasiveness of their functionaries. Although Price’s descriptions of the camera movements that follow, lead, and tantalize K. during his struggle to get to the castle are admirably precise, his chewy, at times congested, prose produces a tortured reading of Haneke’s camera movements that are expressive without the elaborate intellectual apparatus Price conjures to explain them.

Another case in point: Alexis Lykidis offers many pages of what is surely an unnecessary history lesson about bourgeoisie/ state relations from the French Revolution onward, no less, in order to discuss French immigration policy in recent decades. The precis of boiler-plate history he lays out is then brought to bear on scenes in Code Unknown and Cache that are quite comprehensible without such a preamble. Self-inflating verbiage posing as philosophical speculation also weighs down his text. In Code Unknown, Lykidis rightly observes, the protagonist Anne (Juliette Binoche) more than once acts out what the film viewer does not initially perceive as a staged, scripted performance. These are gripping scenes, crucial both to the elaboration of Anne’s character and the narrative enigmas of the film. But Lykidis’s further comments about them far overshoot the mark: Haneke, he (ex?)claims, “reveals the role of desire, subjectivity, and projection in the production of knowledge, promoting an epistemological relativism that reminds us of the opacity of social experience.” Such pretentious babble then leads Lykidis to claim that Haneke’s films challenge nothing less than the universalism of European political discourse, its purported values and cosmopolitanism, in order to “reveal the limits of European bourgeois paradigms in explaining contemporary multicultural realities.” These three authors’ flights of pseudosophistication simply smother the films they discuss. I could unfortunately cite too many other examples of similarly overblown claims that plague the reader in other essays from both volumes. In their zeal to make Haneke into a Continental Thinker of the first order, his most zealous “philosophical” acolytes sometimes simply overlook Haneke’s filmmaking knowhow and his passionate interest in the films of his peers.

Simply put, Haneke is an intellectual, yes, but also a cineaste, something immediately apparent in Haneke’s own essay on Robert Bresson, whose late films’ sparse, parametric style clearly influenced the quasi-musical structure of Haneke’s early works. Happily, some of the authors do focus on such issues. Charles Warren offers a stimulating, freewheeling essay that illuminates the ways in which La Pianiste, among other Haneke works, engages in an intertextual dialog with other films and filmmakers. The range is very large indeed: Warren cites individual works by Kiarostami, Tarkovsky, and Robert Altman, among others. Hugh Manon makes similar attempts to locate cinematic sources for some of Haneke’s films. Leland Monk’s careful comparison of the American remake with the original Funny Games usefully highlights the ways Haneke’s project poses fundamental challenges to Hollywood norms. These essays provide thought-provoking touchstones for further thinking.

Other contributors deepen one’s understanding of the cinematic forms Haneke has created by tying careful observations to insightful, neatly argued critical perspectives they bring to bear. Tom Conley closely examines the complicated first tracking shot, lasting more than eight minutes, of Code Unknown. Prefacing his detailed description of the long take with some general remarks about the functioning of codes according to the psychoanalyst Guy Rosolato and the semiologist Roland Barthes, Conley demonstrates how small details and repeat exchanges can be discerned that reveal what may be at stake in this particular instance of what Godard once called the “moral drama of the tracking shot.” Conley, moreover, looks deeply into the set to locate embedded details–the bakery sign, Viennoiserie, for example, or a reference to the early French filmmaker Louis Feuillade–whose allusions or punning language amplifies the theme.

Some may argue that such readings of nearly invisible and arcane minutiae are too forced, but this is not the only time Haneke, like many directors of the French New Wave before him, placed tantalizing thematic clues on shop windows or movie marquees. When Georges exits from the movie theater in Cache, for example, he briefly lingers under the posters, providing time for the viewer to read them for clues directly relevant for his key ambivalence toward Majid, his erstwhile stepbrother who has just committed suicide. Looking closely at the language on the large posters, one can, in fact, make out, from left to right: “La … Education,” “Ma Mere,” “Deux Freres,” and “So! Film?”–a virtual summary, one could say, of what the film is, at least in part, about. A complementary reading of many long takes in Haneke’s films by John David Rhodes reveals the complex theoretical relationship they sustain with Andre Bazin’s theory of cinematic realism, even as they are countered by what Rhodes calls “Haneke’s spectacles of skepticism.” Such essays–and I would add Brigitte Peuker’s essay on Code Unknown that appears in both anthologies–enhance one’s appetite to see the films again.

Peter Brunette’s blow-by-blow plot description of the relatively little seen, two part Lemmings (1979/1981) in Grundmann’s book is very similar to those he provides of the better-known Haneke films in his monograph. His is a more conventional, even old-fashioned, kind of study, but Brunette writes with a clear command of the material and a great admiration for Haneke’s scriptwriting and cinematic skills. He is very attentive to nuances of sound and editing (the resistance to using eye-line matching in The Seventh Continent [1989] is but one example he mentions), the role of close-ups, especially of objects, and Haneke’s predilection for long takes. His plot readings are sensitive and alert to aspects of the characters Haneke creates, and he comments intelligently on the use of media imagery that so often figures in the films, even as he respectfully pokes holes in some of Haneke’s more contradictory or outlandish statements. Brunette is certainly not indifferent to theoretical speculation, but he also knows how to anchor it concretely in the texts it is used to illuminate. Certainly, those seeking a nicely detailed comprehension of what Haneke is about will find this an all too easily raidable source. Brunette does all the work for them. The illustrations are well selected, and they are much sharper than the fuzzy gray images used in both anthologies.

That better reproduction of film stills is possible in film books is clearly evident in Naqvi’s monograph. Published in Austria, Trugersche Vertrautheit (Deceptive Familiarity) displays many sharp, relevant images; an additional eighteen pages taken from Haneke’s shooting scripts provide tantalizing insights into his working practices and suggest how much benefit could be derived from more thorough investigations of such sources. Her chapter on the adaptation of Ingeborg Bachmann’s Three Paths to the Lake is essentially similar to her article in Grundmann’s collection, as is the chapter on La Pianiste, which is virtually identical to the piece on the film in the Price-Rhodes collection attributed to her and Christophe Kone. The English version of the first essay is compromised by an editorial lapse: German passages from, ironically, Benjamin’s theory of translation are not themselves translated, producing some rough going for anyone who does not read German. For those who do, however, Naqvi’s patient and insightful analyses of most of Haneke’s major and some minor films, informed by her consistent engagement with relevant, high theory, will prove a stimulating read.

Haneke is not the first–nor will he be the last–filmmaker to be embraced by academic critics who, unlike daily reviewers, have the ambition, time, and training to attempt to comprehend individual films, or an entire oeuvre for that matter, in larger cultural terms. This is by no means a bad fate for a filmmaker–whatever protestations one sometimes hears from any creative artist disconcerted by such occasionally overbearing consideration. Film arrived very late on the world’s cultural agenda, and, in some ways, those of us devoted to it as an art form of great power and eloquence remain protective of and, yes, often defensive about its stature in the hierarchy of the arts.

But can we agree on the following principles? Criticism that enables readers to see the works more clearly, both the crucial formal decisions the filmmaker has made and the range of interpretations they open up, are valuable and to be welcomed as enhancements of the moviegoing experience. But academics writing to show off their intellectual chops for tenure and promotion committees too often lard their texts with dispiriting displays of irrelevant erudition that only dull insight and dampen the enthusiasm that can generate genuine critical engagement..

Books Reviewed in This Article

A Companion to Michael Haneke Edited by Roy Grundmann. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 638 pp., illus. Hardcover: $204.95.

Michael Haneke by Peter Brunette. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010. 168 pp., illus. Hardcover: $65.00 and Paperback: $22.00.

On Michael Haneke Edited by Brian Price and John David Rhodes. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2010. 289 pp., illus. Paperback: $29.95.

Trugerische Vertrautheit by Fatima Naqvi, with a foreword by Elfriede Jelinek. Vienna: Synema, 2010. 193 pp., illus. Paperback: EURO 30, available online from office@synema.at.

An interdisciplinary approach to labor markets and wage determination

An understanding of the reality of wage determination and labor markets–apart from collective bargaining–requires, in my view, a conceptual blend of industrial relations and economics. Policy prescriptions to be listened to and to be effective likewise need to proceed from an integration of the two disciplines.

An-interdisciplinary-approach-to-labor-markets-1

Economics must appreciate that wage rates are but one rule of the workplace among a vast array of rules. There are no fixed terms or rates of substitution with other rules, or even with other compensation rules. All terms of employment are not reducible to money. Industrial relations specialists likewise need to recognize, as should economists, how the complex of rules of the workplace is influenced, both in static and dynamic terms, by the contexts of technology, labor and product markets, and political power in the large society–not by conventional labor markets alone.

workplace

The fact is that the mainstream of economics has always qualified and tempered its analysis of wage determination and labor markets by recognizing that special and peculiar features are at work that do not permit the unrestrained application of competitive theory, as applied to other markets. However, the readily observable facts of unemployment and differentials in compensation in the same markets have encouraged, in the past 10 or 15 years particularly, an extensive intellectual effort and considerable ingenuity among micro-economists to find explanations within the framework of economic rationality. These various attempts are not likely to impress industrial relations specialists. The judgment is likely to be that the models are far too esoteric. They apply to few situations, and they will not take us very far toward a general view of labor market and wage behavior. The amendments to microeconomics are not adequate to the magnitude of the gap between the competitive model and reality.

The ‘real world’

I consider three concepts that have their roots in industrial relations and practical experience as essential to an understanding of wage determination and the operation of labor markets. They are not congenial to microeconomic theory.

1. Internal labor markets.

An essential tool is the internal labor market, as distinguished from the conventional or “external” labor market. The BLS monthly household survey reports persons as outside the labor force, as employed, or as unemployed and seeking work during the survey period.

Movement among these categories defines gross changes in employment and unemployment. All these changes constitute movement among enterprises or labor force states. These movements arise in the external labor market, a minute fraction of the complex of movements that take place each day.

  • The internal labor market is an administrative unit in which movements within the unit or with the outside are patterned by formal rules or customs. The unit may involve only some job classifications of an establishment or may halls or multi-plants of a single company. The internal market may be narrow, involving a single enterprise, or be very broad as in the civil service system of governments.
  • Internal labor markets are concerned with such tropics as seniority, seniority districts, retirement policies, hiring and recruitment standards, promotion rules, layoff criteria, absentee policy, health care regulations, equal employment opportunity, and age or handicap discrimination, as well as procedures for dispute resolution over these rules and their consequences for management, employees, and labor organizations.
  • The internal labor market is the unit within which relative wage rates are also determined among job classifications, not among individuals, with the aid of job evaluation or incentive systems or by decisions exercised by management or through collective bargaining. These relative compensation rates are peculiarly the social concerns that are so important in the mainstream of economic thought, as evident in the work of John R. Hicks and others. The internal alignment of rates likewise needs to be related to some external rates, particularly for some job classifications.
  • Internal labor markets and their rules that govern the movement of workers are also the fundamental determinants of the quality of the work force and the training that is acquired over a period of time on the job. Thus, the flexibility of the work force, its adaptability to technical change, to shifts in work processes, to new quality and work standards, and to new products is likely to be mightily influenced by its previous work experience dictated by the rules of the internal market. Clearly also, the adaptability and employability of those exited to the exterior labor market is materially influenced by these internal experiences and training. For ex: in industry of clothing and sewing, the internal labor training is the most important factor to help workers get easily adapt to new technology, such as new kinds of sewing machines (read full sewing machine reviews here) and new materials (silk, cotton, polyester).

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Microeconomics has recently turned its formal analysis to pensions, to incentives for the work force, to productivity, and other features of internal labor markets. But efficiency is not the only test that a society applies to its labor markets, and particularly to internal markets, which are asked to meet tests of equity, security, equal employment opportunity, and other goals. In brief, I do not believe that micro-economic theory is adequate to provide a useful understanding of internal labor markets and their effects on internal and external movements of labor, on internal wage structures for job classifications in enterprises of size, and for on-the-job training. These are vast areas of labor market experience and wage determination that need to be incorporated in a consolidated industrial relations and economic perspective.

2. Persistent differentials from product market and establishment size.

It is a well established fact that at wage rates or average hourly earnings for a defined job classification, such as maintenance electrician or keypunch operator, show very wide variations in a locality, particularly in a community with a variety of industries. The top wage rates for a job classification are often two or three times the low ones. Differences in fringe benefit programs normally expand on these differences.

Neoclassical economics has sought to live with these large differences by proposing that they are related to the quality of the labor force in the different enterprises; compensating differences in working conditions, safety, distances, and the like; differences in information; and by the fact that there are longer run competitive forces in labor markets tending to eliminate these differences. Experience teaches that this view of wage rate differentials is simply grossly inadeauate to the reality. Granted that some persistent differentials arise from the sources stressed by microeconomics, these are virtually impossible to measure satisfactorily. I regard it necessary to explain, in other than conventional microeconomic terms, the large wage rate and fringe benefit differentials that persist for a given job classification in a locality.

There are at least two sets of persistent and pervasive differentials, somewhat interrelated, that need to be recognized and explained. These differentials are not uniquely the result of collective bargaining, although the differentials may be more formally maintained under collective bargaining. The differentials are related to product market groupings of firms and; within a given product grouping, to the size of the establishment, or in some circumstances to the size of the enterprise. Different competitive conditions in product markets are related to different compensation levels for the job classification in the local labor market.

Economists have deep trouble with the concept of product market differences affecting wages because it appears that enterprises that are assumed to maximize profits are paying unnecessarily high wage rates for the amount and grade of labor required. The analytical soul is redeemed for some economists by explaining that the enterprise is sharing its rents with its employees. The view, derived particularly from business schools and public policy programs, that managers in large enterprises are concerned basically with balancing conflicting constituency interests, rather than simply with maximizing profits, leads to a similar relaxed view as to persistent wage and benefit differentials. Thus, the model of the enterprise is also at stake in the concern with persistent wage differentials.

Forty years ago, I argued that “labor markets do not resemble bourses, auctions, nor lcosed-bid arrangements.” The institutional form of any market influences its performance. It is strange, indeed, that so many contemporary economists have come so late to the simple truth that a labor market is not well depicted as a bourse. In 1980, Robert E. Hall concluded that, “There is no point any longer in pretending that the labor market is an auction market cleared by the observed average hourly wage.” Indeed, there never was any point in so pretending, and industrial relations and its practitioners never did.

3. Bargaining theory.

It is imperative, in my view, to approach wage rate determination equipped with the tools of negotiation and dispute resolution. Bargaining has always been a problem in microeconomics because of the fewness of buyers and sellers, or because of an indeterminancy of results of negotiations, or because of the discipline’s abhorrence of strikes, lockouts, and serious conflict, or because of the consequences of public intervention on market performance.

A number of efforts have been made to reconcile market wage and price determination with bargaining theory. But I do not believe these efforts are regarded as generally useful or satisfactory. There are several assumptions requisite to economic rigor which seem to me to render the theoretical frameworks rather unacceptable in wage rate determination; in my experience, there are typically scores of rules under discussion which are not readily transmuted into money on a fixed basis, and none of the parties to the negotiations is a monolith.

The essence of negotiations and mediation is the shifting alignments within each party. Between two parties, it takes three agreements, one within each side, to reach the third agreement across the bargaining table. This essential view of negotiations is repugnant to microeconomics. Outcomes in negotiations are variable, not prescribed by markets, and the institutional features of the markets do make a difference. Indeed, these institutional features are themselves subject to negotiated change.

IN SUM, an understanding and an adequate explanation of the behavior of labor markets and of wage determination inherently needs to integrate the contributions of economic analysis–and its dedictation to competitive markets–and those of industrial relations with its acceptance of internal markets, persistent differentials in compensation generated by product market differences, and the negotiation process. Serious error and bias are derived from trying to get along with one without the other. Such integration is in keeping with the long-run mainstream of economics. To facilitate this integration, and thus the discourse on labor markets and wage determination, is one of the major intellectual responsibilities of the Industrial Relations Research Association.

I fully recognize that the integration of industrial relations and microeconomics is likely to involve for economics a loss of formal rigor and intellectual beauty. But abstraction and relevance were never so far apart in economics. A sensitivity to industrial relations remains essential to an understanding of and sensible policy prescriptions for labor markets and wage determination.

10 MFA programs that offer a specialty focus

Google the words “MFA creative writing,” and you’ll find plenty of programs offering students the opportunity to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Most programs embrace a similar structure –faculty who work as professional writers lead workshops on craft and literary analysis and guide participants in writing and revising a final manuscript.

But what of those writers who envision their thesis as a comic book? What of those who want to focus on writing about place? And what about those who long to work in science fiction, mystery or romance–genres frowned upon by many traditional programs?

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Fortunately, several MFA programs in creative writing offer a range of degree and focus options. Travelmemoirists and picture-book writers, take heart. If you’ve got the desire and time, there’s a program for you.

  • ONE Bilingual MFA in creative writing (The University of Texas at El Paso): This online program readies writers for the publishing marketplace and for teaching and editing careers in the United States and Latin America. It offers training in fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, essay and literary translation. http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=42392.
  • TWO MFA in cartoon studies (The Center for Cartoon Studies): “Whether your comics are illustratively rendered, employ photos or clip art, are humorous or carved in wood, CCS is committed to helping each student improve.” Students spend the first year in residency; the second year of study can be completed by correspondence. www.cartoonstudies.org/programs/programs.html.
  • THREE MFA in writing for children and young adults (Vermont College of Fine Arts): Create your own program, guided by professional children’s writers. Attend two 10-day residencies each year in Montpelier, Vt. http://www.vermontcollege.edu/low-residency-mfa/ writing-children-young-adults.
  • FOUR MFA in writing focusing on interdisciplinary studies (California College of the Arts): “We welcome student work that combines or crosses genres or art practices.” While working on the MFA degree, students take courses in painting/drawing, film/video, photography, printmaking, book arts, visual criticism and architecture. www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/writing.
  • FIVE MFA in memoir (Hunter College): This two-year, low-cost program in New York City offers intense instruction with memoirists Louise DeSalvo, Kathryn Harrison and Eva Hoffman. www.hunter.cuny.edu/creativewriting.

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  • SIX MFA in creative writing focusing on nature and travel writing (Chatham University): This program, inspired by Rachel Carson, explores multiple genres guided by the writer’s relationship with place. Field seminars allow students to travel internationally with faculty, then craft work about their experience. www.chatham.edu/departments/writing/graduate/writing.
  • SEVEN MFA in creative writing focusing on poetry (Columbia College Chicago): This program, offering evening classes in downtown Chicago, prepares students to write and publish poetry professionally. Students graduate with a book-length poetry manuscript. www.colum.edu/Academics/Graduate_Study/Poetry.
  • EIGHT MFA in writing popular fiction (Seton Hill University): This online program with biannual residencies in Pennsylvania guides students in crafting book-length mystery, romance, science fiction, horror and fantasy. Participants graduate with a market-ready novel. www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction.
  • NINE MFA in creative writing and publishing arts (University of Baltimore): Students take evening and summer courses in book arts and small-press publishing, creating print and electronic journals as well as broadsides and chapbooks. www.ubalt.edu/cla_template.cfm?page=1465.
  • TEN MFA in writing for screen and television (Pepperdine University). This two-year program in Malibu “trains students for a vocation as screenwriters and prepares them to become cultural leaders in the entertainment industry.” Participants study ethics, philosophy, film and religion. http://seaver.pepperdine.edu/humanities/academics/ma-screenwriting.htm.

Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart received her MFA from Goddard College in 1996. She’s the author of the memoir Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood. She teaches journalism at the University of Oregon.

University presses focus on mutual support

Abstract:

Well over 400 people attended the May 1996 Assn of American University Presses (AAUP) convention at the Snowbird resort in Utah. Several speakers reinforced the AAUP event’s ‘Working Together to Manage Change’ theme, including Doug Amato of Duke Univ and William Sisler of Harvard.

Content:

Annual meeting in Utah calm and practical

ABOUT 450 PEOPLE spent Memorial Day weekend on a mountain in Utah for the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses; and despite cloudy, chilly weather, almost constant rain and even occasional snow, most agreed it had been time well spent.

The setting was the 8000-foot-high Snowbird ski resort on the last weekend of the season, and although attendance was not equal to that enjoyed by sites closer to sea level, and a number of pressdirectors were absent, those who did come found it had to be a thoroughly workmanlike meeting. “I saw lots of younger people, and I heard one of them asking another, ‘What did you learn today?'” said Morris Phillipson, director of the University of Chicago Press, who has been coming to such meetings for 20 years. “That’s the sort of thing I like to hear.”

And, in fact, mutual support and sharing of information seemed to be the keynote of a meeting whose stated theme was “Working Together to Manage Change.” In recent years scholarly publishers have agonized frequently over their role in the marketplace, the rise of electronic publishing and what it may do to the monograph, the search for foundation support, their sometimes shaky relations with the library community over fair use issues, and the creation of trade-type books in what is supposed to be a scholarly environment.

For this meeting the navel-gazing and breast-beating were abandoned, and most of the sessions were devoted to such practical issues as dealing with book clubs, managing difficult authors, selling via the Internet and managing their budgets better (if you’re going to start giving authors advances, urged one panelist, be sure to let your financial officer know).

In a stirring opening plenary session, Doug Amato of Johns Hopkins set the tone when he urged UPs to abandon their previously snooty attitude to such commercial notions as encouraging booksellers, and advertising their books. Advertising, he declared, is essential, especially in a declining library market where retail sales are central and, thanks to much better distribution by the likes of Ingram, easier.

Harvard’s William Sisler said UPs could usually not hope for books of broad commercial appeal, just books that slightly expanded the market for scholarly thought: “We’re the tail, not the dog.” Still, he said, the role is a vital one, and UPs need to be more vigorous in their own support, not defensive. The notion of UPs as “boutique” publishers probably passed with the heyday of independent bookstores in the 1980s, and now, thanks to superstores, their books are more widely, if not deeply, distributed

AAUP president-elect Kate Torrey of North Carolina devoted much of her inaugural luncheon speech to a celebration of how far women had come within the organization in recent years. There are now 15 women directors of presses that offer more than 50 titles a year, and a third of all directors are women (with an especially strong presence in the South). For the first time, women are succeeding each other as AAUP president (Joanna Hitchcock of Texas is the new president-elect). Torrey said the organization has passed the successive stages of denial, then panic, at the advent of electronic publishing, and “our extensive accomplishments in the past five years have been won despite the fact that there has been no lessening of ink-on-paper publishing.” No one has yet figured how to make money in electronic publishing, she declared. Ultimately, the UPs have a role as mediators in the ongoing struggles between university faculties, libraries and other publishers.

A second plenary session examining the current demographics of academia found that expanded college enrollments, a feature of the past decade, were likely to continue in the period up to 2006, but at a somewhat slower pace–and women are now enrolling at a much faster rate than men, whom they now outnumber in graduate schools. A rise in feminist studies courses is therefore inevitable, but there will be a decline in the numbers going on to a Ph.D level. Indicators are that higher education will be “larger but poorer,” with a decline in federal and state support, and some cost-cutting inevitable, which will ultimately affect books and libraries.

An increase in interdisciplinary studies was also noted, as well as a rise in the numbers of those going on to Masters programs. In a specific examination of the California scene, it was found that 30% of the older faculty had departed in the past five years, leading to a great influx of younger teachers, offering still-developing new curricula. In the student body, Asians and Hispanics will be a plurality by the year 2000, with Asians moving ahead most rapidly in the more advanced programs. In subject areas, life sciences, chemistry and general social studies are the only disciplines on the rise, with the humanities in general on the decline.

A powerful luncheon speaker was Nell Painter, Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton, who described with some humor the “almost lily-white” composition of UP staffs. Minority employees are especially valuable because of their ability to spot trends in their own fields, their greater skills and abilities at criticizing other minorities, and the fact that “they bring a greater variety to the gossip I know you’re all so good at,” she said. Excuses for not hiring minorities range from the absence of qualified people, to “we tried one once and it didn’t work out,” to “we had one, and he/she was terrific, but we couldn’t keep him/her,” and the person moved on for higher pay. Painter said there are many young minority people willing to work in publishing, especially those who want to write; check the “lots of good people” who dropped out for various reasons in college and graduate school, as well as English majors. She suggested a shared internship program, and “once you hire someone, they will lead you to others. It’s starting that’s hard.”

As executive director Peter Grenquist commented at the end of the meeting, in effect answering Phillipson’s overheard remark: “I think we all learned a lot.”

The Music Educator Award recognizes 10 finalists who are bringing music to the next generation

Without music educators, “we probably wouldn’t have anything close to the kind of artistry we have,” Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow says. “They certainly nurture, develop and encourage young people to perfect their craft.” In recognition of the positive influence of music teachers on their students, the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation partnered to create the first Music Educator Award, which was announced on last year’s telecast by Portnow, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Seacrest.

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“As I said then, ‘I never became a guitar god, but he certainly changed my life forever,'” Portnow says, referring to his teacher Stan Solow, who introduced him to such guitar greats as Wes Montgomery and Andres Segovia.

Following the announcement, about 32,000 music educators from kindergarten through college (in public and private schools) were nominated from all 50 states. Each teacher was notified of his or her nomination and invited to fill out an application (5,700 were received in total). During a six-month period, a committee of representatives from the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation, as well as music educators, selected 10 finalists based on essay responses and video submissions that demonstrated their positive impact on students’ lives.

“It’s a natural fit with our focus on keeping music in the schools, because we endorse the idea thatmusic education is part of a well-rounded education,” says Kristen Madsen, senior VP of the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares Foundation. “In order for us to ensure that the younger generations have the same benefit we did growing up, it’s critical for us to put a spotlight on that issue.”

The first-place winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the Music Educator Award during the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Jan. 25. The honoree will receive a $10,000 honorarium, an invitation to the Grammys on Jan. 26 and a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

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The nine finalists will be given a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. The honorariums were made possible by funding from Converse, the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Journeys and Microsoft Surface, with additional support from Universal Music Group. Teachers can be nominated for the next Music Educator Award by visiting GrammyMusicTeacher.com. The deadline to nominate is March 31.

Meet the 10 finalists for the first Music Educator Award.

Lisa Bianconi: In 28 years, Lisa Bianconi has helped thousands of at-risk children find their voices and make music a way of life as music program director at the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, an elementary and middle school in Westminster, Vt. Its music program, which boasts 105 students, is 100 years old.

Charles Cushinery: The director of orchestras at Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas also serves as president of the Nevada Music Educators Assn. In addition to teaching for 16 years, he’s a part-time violinist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Pops.

Andrew DeNicola: “For 40 years I have been blessed to do exactly what I want to do with my life,” says Andrew DeNicola, a 40-year teacher at John E Stevens High School in Edison, N.J. “As I tell my students, ‘Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.'”

Vivian Gonzalez: The educator holds three different titles at Florida’s South Miami K-8 Center: choir director, theory teacher and string/orchestra teacher. “I also collaborate with teachers to weave music into larger learning,” Vivian Gonzalez says.

Kent Knappenberger: One-third of the 430 students at the Westfield Academy & Central School in Westfield, N.Y., where Kent Knappenberger is choir director/music teacher, take general music classes. “I try to facilitate a high level of musicianship,” the 25-year teaching veteran says.

Kathrine Kouns: Kathrine Kouns recently moved from Carmel, Ind., to Scottsdale, Ariz., where she is the choir director at Horizon High School. She’s also led the National Assn. for Music Education and American Choral Directors Assn.

Glen McCarthy: The guitar teacher at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., is actively involved in the Guitar Foundation of America and the National Assn. for Music Education.

Steve Vutsinas: As a music educator of 24 years, the performing arts department chairman and orchestra director at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Va., believes it’s his responsibility “to teach all students to love music for an entire lifetime.”

Jo Wolloce-Abbie: She’s played violin with Rod Stewart, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Doc Severinsen but since 1999 she’s been director of orchestras at Piano West Senior High School in Piano, Texas. Jo Wallace-Abbie is also a five-time Texas Honor Orchestra director.

Mary Jo West: “This is the one class where I feel alive,” wrote a student of the visual and performing arts department chairman and instrumental music director at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Va.

No more rock’n’roll high school?

At what point do the music programs at colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education begin to suffer as funding for music classes continues to tighten in grades K-12?

According to Higher Education Arts Data Services of Reston, Va., overall student engagement in music study has remained stable from 2007-08 to 2011-12 among the more than 630 accredited institutional members of the National Assn. of Schools of Music. NASM membership has grown approximately 5% during those years, with the average number of undergraduate music majors per institution remaining at approximately 145.

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During the same period, the average distribution of credits earned for all music courses, ensembles and private lessons in NASM institutions remained at approximately 55% for music majors and 45% for majors in other fields. “Because music majors take more music courses than other majors, these statistics indicate that interest in music study remains steady among undergraduate students, and that a significantly large number of students majoring in other fields continue to study music in college,” NASM executive director Samuel Hope says.

Though college enrollment has remained relatively stable, several music education foundations and advocacy groups fear that the lack of music and arts-related revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly No Child Left Behind) could soon have a trickle-down effect. The act hasn’t had any arts-related changes since the Bush administration, and the Obama administration’s focus on defining education as English-language arts, math, science or “other” is a troubling sign for continued federal support heading into the 2012 election cycle.

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“The current administration said some very nice things, but most actions have not been favorable to music education,” says Michael Blakeslee, deputy executive director of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), formerly known as the National Assn. for Music Education. “They’re not slamming it, but their emphasis is elsewhere. The word from the right side of the House in various drafts for the ESEA revision is even less supportive.”

Rob Davidson, program manager at VH1 Save the Music Foundation, says the ESEA’s particular focus on standardized testing has had a “squeezing effect” on curriculums, including arts and music as well as physical education, social studies and other subjects that aren’t tested directly.

“Schools are under tremendous amount of pressure to perform on those tests,” Davidson says. “It really takes a leader with a lot of foresight and, frankly, a lot of guts to include other subjects in the curriculumwhen their livelihood is being tested.”

To better illustrate the actual costs of a comprehensive K-12 music education program, the National Assn. of Music Merchants commissioned a first-of-its-kind study for its Sounds of Learning research initiative that found music education costs an average of $187 per student annually in a sample school district.

“If there are 16,000 people in a school district, the people making decisions are pretty much local, and making decisions based on guidelines that come down to the states,” says Mary Luehrsen, director of public affairs and government relations for NAMM. “The federal funding only equals about 10% of total education costs.”

Indeed, that’s why many trade groups have taken a more district-level focus in their advocacy heading into the next school year.

“School boards and superintendents are making hard decisions,” MENC’s Blakeslee says. “‘What if we don’t start band in fifth grade? What if we wait until the seventh grade?’ The skills and knowledge gained from music performance really comes from the overall development of the program which, in turn, has a long-term impact on what goes on in schools with music at the undergraduate and graduate level, and our culture as a whole.”

The sound of music: Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly rate the music databases

Mixing business with pleasure, this column examines online music resources ranging from electronically enhanced versions of scholarly indexes and reference books to complete digital music libraries. Full-text access and OpenURL compliance are finding their way into traditional bibliographic sources, while other resources are dramatically expanding what libraries can offer in terms of music reference, collection development, education, and listening.

Grove Music Online integrates content from a number of the publisher’s music reference titles and adds value with an ever-expanding selection of relevant audio content.

Classical Music Library is a streamed digital music collection first and an authoritative music reference library second, while Naxos Music Library is one of the best examples of what can result when Internettechnology is imaginatively blended with high-quality digital content.

We also take a quick look at music downloading services–like iTunes Music Store and Napster 2.0–and how libraries stand to gain from this emerging model for music acquisition.

Classical Music Library

Classical International Inc.

Content Classical Music Library (CML) is a breakthrough resource that lets you glimpse what can happen when imaginative thinking and technology come together. An extensive collection of some 17,000 musical tracks that can be selected and streamed on demand, supplemented by a solid body of music-related reference material, CML is a uniquely self-contained resource for teachers, students, librarians, and anyone interested in exploring classical music.

The publishers have assembled a number of Playlists on various musical periods, artistic movements, and specific performers and composers, along with specialty Playlists like “Lover’s Guide” and “Wedding Music.” Additionally, there is a feature called “Discovery Concerts”–complete with program notes–organized around themes like holidays and music of various nationalities.

Subscribers have considerable control over how they implement the product. A library can open up access to remote users and determine whether to permit listeners to download selections and compile custom CDs (using their own credit cards). A library can even opt to mount the database on its own local server.

The promotional material indicates that the collection is “benchmarked against the Music Library Association (MLA) listing of essential sound recordings.” This would seem an acceptable standard, although it is not clear what it means at this early point in CML’s development. The MLA source, for example, recommends specific recordings far nine works by contemporary composer John Adams. CML offers just three pieces, none of which are those recommended by MLA. On the other hand, for some works–the Beethoven symphonies, for example–CML offers multiple recordings. But many major labels are missing–including Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, Harmonia Mundi, EMI, BMG, and Naxos–along with many high-profile classical artists and conductors–Horowitz, Pavarotti, Ma, Perlman, and Gardiner.

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Searchability The CML homepage provides immediate access to the site’s contents. A “quick search” box heads the page with a link to advanced search. All the browse options a music researcher could want fill the left-hand flame, including alphabetical browsing by Composer, Artist, Conductor, Ensemble, Instrument, Genre, Period, and label. A second option, Browse by Genre, gives access to Orchestral, Chamber, Instrumental, Stage & Screen, Vocal & Choral, and Opera & Operetta content within the resource. The Reference component includes a library of Biographies (the featured one on Gustav Mahler runs about 600 words) and Images. Additional Reference materials include a Glossary and a breakdown of musical Periods, along with an assortment of MIDI files, which can be heard as a standalone resource and are also integrated into the Reference material.

Selecting a term in Browse mode takes searchers to a Results list where they are immediately offered the opportunity to “Narrow your search further by selecting” additional terms. This is a fairly sophisticated option in that only relevant search terms are presented. For example, after choosing the Composer “Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni” from the Browse list, searchers may narrow the inquiry by pulling down the Instrument menu and selecting among Continuo, Oboe, Organ, String Orchestra, and Trumpet. The Ensemble menu, in turn, lets searchers identify any of the five orchestras and groups represented in the collection that have recorded one of Albioni’s pieces.

From the Results list, searchers may Play a track, retrieve more information (on the work, the track, the recording, the artists, and the composer), or mark the selection for addition to a personal Playlist or custom CD. They may also view the static URL for the work.

Advanced search mode retains the ease of navigation. There are four search boxes in the template with an option to add more. Field indexes are selected via pull-down menus. Checking “Enable automatic spell checking?” retrieves alternate and partial spellings of a composer’s name. Behind the scenes, the system also does some “preprocessing” to standardize search terminology (changing # to “sharp”). Results are relevancy ranked, and the system recognizes when a term or phrase has musical significance and ranks it higher.

Given the inherent limitations of streamed audio and computer playback, CML listeners are not going to be treated to an audiophile experience. The muddy sound quality is “mid-fi” at best. CML’s documentation indicates that while recordings were intentionally encoded at a relatively low bit-rate to facilitate streaming, files are in the process of being reencoding in Windows Media 9 format, which should offer sound improvements. Mac and Netscape users will hear CML audio in compressed MP3 format.

Price Pricing for an annual subscription starts at $995 for three simultaneous users. Individuals who download musical selections and create custom CDs pay directly for this functionality with credit cards. The decision to enable this functionality (and to extend it to remote listeners) is left to the subscribing library’s discretion. Prospective library subscribers may arrange a free 30-day trial.

Who Needs It? Classical Music Library is well suited to educational settings where a teacher wants to introduce students to a composer, work, genre, or period. The presence of static URLs allows linking to specific works from an electronic reserve list, a course homepage, or within a course management application. Classical Music Library is also a way for users to explore classical music without investing personal resources for the privilege–a concept perfectly in keeping with that of a library collection. Classical Music Library is a formidable collection of music and music reference material. Making it available across your institution–and to remote users as well–could fundamentally change what users expect libraries to deliver. As a pioneering resource it has some shortcomings, but they are resolvable ones that the publisher is committed to fixing.

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Grove Music Online

Oxford University Press

Content Launched in 1991, Grove Music Online integrates into one resource the 29-volume New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed.; the four-volume New Grove Dictionary of Opera; and the three-volume New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2d ed. This comprehensive database contains nearly 50,000 articles, including 23,000+ biographies, 5000+ photographs, diagrams, and drawings from 6000+ contributors representing 98 countries. Musical examples and 3000+ links to authoritative musical sites on the Internet (including sound archives and illustrations) are major enhancements over the print format.

Grove has partnered with music software designer Sibelius to add sound. Scorch, a free web browser plug-in, allows users to view, play, print, transpose, and save musical scores. These sound enhancements deal primarily with technical articles, genres, and definitions. Examples are set to a default sound of an acoustic piano, regardless of the instrumentation of the score. Grove is developing the means to create a separate library of digital recordings made from live sources rather than the MIDI format used on the site.

In addition to the Scorch plug-in, users will need Windows Media Player and Viewpoint’s 3-D image viewer to view models of instruments.

Updated annually, the site has 71 articles on contemporary composers, which have had their works expanded and updated; 56 musical examples in 20 articles have been Sibelius-enhanced. Grove has established a partnership with OperaBase, a comprehensive database of opera performances, and articles retrieved from New Grove Dictionary of Opera include a tab to OperaBase.

Searchability Navigation is effortless as users have four basic methods (Search, Advanced Search, Browse, and Explore). These options are always available through the top navigation menu. The welcome screen has all modes prominently displayed, and users can select the Advanced mode for full text, biographies, bibliographies, external web site links, contributors, and works lists. Three distinct modes (concept, pattern, and Boolean) offer a range of possibilities. Concept mode incorporates a thesaurus of synonyms, generating a wider range of search results–handy for students beginning a research project. Pattern is valuable when users are unsure of spelling.

Browse options include articles, abbreviations, contributors, and index. Explore allows users to find articles via a biography subject classification. Articles are classified with subdivisions according to genre, date, and nationality and include Composers, Performers, Printers and publishers, and Writers.

A basic Search box appears at the top of each page as well, and the system looks first within article headings, then subheadings, then full text. The navigation bar includes tabs to Article, Illustrations, Sounds, Related Articles, Links, and Article Search.

Once an article is retrieved, navigation is controlled via arrows or, in the case of a large article, to sections from the table of contents. Users can browse a section to locate a specific subheading. From within an article students can search for specific terms using the “Article Search” tab. This works well with lengthy articles. Highlighted cross references within articles lead to related information.

Sibelius-enabled examples are accessible through the articles themselves, either within the body of the article text, or by clicking on the “Illustrations” or “Sounds” tabs. Links to 3-D images are also accessible from the “Illustrations” tab and create an intriguing view of a particular instrument. While researching guitars we viewed inside a guitar, read and viewed the tuning of the D string, took a closer look at each of the major parts, and enlarged and moved the image to a variety of positions and sizes.

External web sites are classified as Image, Sound, Organization, Literature, and General. Users also retrieve related article links when searching for external web sites, offering students a broad view of their desired topic.

Price Discounts are available through regional library network or consortia. Site licenses for secondary schools are $350. Academic concurrent user pricing for one user is $1260; 2-14 users, $3,255. Academic site licensing based on FTE ranges from $1,575 to $15,750. Public library licenses by population served range from $1260 to $15,750. Account administrators can generate usage statistics, including number of sessions and number of turnaways. A free 30-day trial is offered to institutions.

Who Needs It? Grove Music Online is a core reference database for institutional support of music and performing arts curricula. The various approaches to searching, as well as the vast coverage of musical topics, create a resource that appeals to all levels of interested users. The inclusion of sound and 3-D image files significantly complements the authoritative content and greatly increases comprehension of concepts.

International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP) Full Text International Index to Performing Arts (IIPA) Full Text

ProQuest Information & Learning

Content International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP) Full Text, produced by Chadwyck-Healey, includes indexing and abstracts for 419 international music and performing arts periodicals (plus the complete full text for 82 journals selected by the IIMP Advisory Board) from over 20 countries. Coverage extends from 1874 to the present, with nearly 166,000 retrospective citations from 142 periodicals and includes a comprehensive range of musical genres such as classical, popular, jazz, reggae, world music, rap, hip-hop, and folk. Detailed abstracts from 1996 forward are available for each citation, and full-text options include ASCII Full Text and Text+Graphics format. New content is added on a monthly basis.

Both scholarly and popular titles are indexed, and researchers can peruse titles such as International Journal of Music Education, Jazz Education Journal, Music & Letters, as well as Reggae Report, Rolling Stone, and Spin to retrieve articles on music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theater, theory, popular music forms, and composition. The database also indexes feature music articles and obituaries appearing in the New York Times and Washington Post.

IIMP Full Text contains 408,000+ article records, the majority of which index the most recent eight years of publication, and the latest release includes both extended coverage and new full-text titles. Five new current-file journals are incorporated in the release: Billboard, Journal of American & Comparative Cultures, Journal of the American Musicological Society, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. Coverage has been extended for a number of full-text journals, and back file content has been added for core journals from the first published issue to 1990, including American Music, Early Music, Journal of the American Musicological Society, and Journal of the Royal Musical Association.

The welcome page includes a link to a new “Librarians’ Resources” section, with current and archived usage statistics, as well as other resources such as Title Lists, journal-level OpenURL links for full-text journals, and MARC records for download.

The IIMP index and abstract-only product is also available online, as well as on CD-ROM, with two new CD-ROMs released every year.

Another Chadwyck-Healey product, similar in structure but different in scope, is International Index to Performing Arts (IIPA) Full Text, which covers performing arts in a broader sense, including dance, film, television, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, broadcast arts, circus performance, comedy, storytelling, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic, and more. It indexes and abstracts 225 international performing arts periodicals, plus full text for 52 journals from nine countries (feature articles and obituaries appearing in the New York Times and Washington Post are also indexed).

The database includes over 252,000+ article records, the majority of which index the most recent six years of publication, plus 89,000+ retrospective citations from 46 periodicals, dating back to 1864. Abstracts are included for citations from 1998 to the present. A new release presents back file full text for numerous tides and the “Librarians’ Resources” site as mentioned above.

Searchability Both databases are identical in navigation and include the same search options and new functionality, so we will refer only to IIMP Full Text. The latest release features a clean look complete with simple navigation and new tools that aid in more efficient searching and results navigation. A Home link is present in the top toolbar of every page, as well as links to context-sensitive help, more about the database, etc. A repeating left-hand frame offers links to Search Articles, Search Journal Titles, Browse Journals, Selected Records, and Search History.

The welcoming screen is straightforward and allows users to navigate to the search interface directly or browse the list of journals. The Browse Journals page offers alphabetical access, and clicking on a title navigates to the main page for that journal, which includes extensive bibliographic information and the list of available issues. From here users can drill further down to individual articles. Individual journal pages now include a “Search articles in this journal” link to retrieve articles in that particular journal. In addition to browsing by journal tide, patrons can now search by journal title, keyword, ISSN, or journal language. We appreciate the ability to create a list of language-specific titles, a frequent request from modern languages faculty.

Users can “Search for Articles” using a combination of 11 criteria, including keyword, title, author, subject categories, subject terms, document type, and ISSN. The default limit is set to search broadly across all articles in IIMP Full Text, although users can limit to articles with full text. A browse list is available for each field, or patrons can enter a keyword or phrase into the search box.

One impressive new feature is the “Results overview,” which lets users view the search results by journal fide. Clicking on the “open results overview” link on the article results page opens a pop-up window that displays a top-level view of which journals are in the results. Records can be emailed to multiple recipients using the “Selected Records” feature. Notes can be appended to each record for later clarification. For articles with full-text, a link to the full text is included in the email.

Other new features include a search history (both a journal search and article search) for refining, reexecuting, and combining; a bookmark utility that produces durable URLs for future use in web pages and course reading lists; and new online help files. The system allows for the standard Boolean, proximity, and truncation searching.

Price Pricing has broad ranges, depending on size of the library and number of users. Contact proQuest for consortia discounts and database bundling information. Entry-level pricing is stated for all cases. The indexes are available for permanent purchase starting at $14,450, with subscriptions to annual updates starting at $1770. Subscription prices for index only (based on number of users): academic libraries start at $1820; publics start at $1050. For full-text versions, academics start at $3520; publics start at $1440. A free 30-day trial is offered to institutions.

Who Needs It? This pair of Chadwyck-Healey full-text databases are superb in content and organization, providing thesaurus-controlled indexing from 1996 (IIMP) and 1998 (IIPA) onward. The broad journal coverage found in both resources will appeal to a variety of institutional settings, including public libraries, and the improved interface and additional navigational tools, as well as updated content, will greatly benefit a range of patrons. A proposed March release will include JSTOR links and speed enhancements on lists of results.

Music Index Online

Harmonie Park Press

Content Since 1949, The Music Index: A Subject-Author Guide to Music Periodical Literature has exerted bibliographic control over international music periodical literature. Music Index Online, its electronic incarnation, indexes articles on all aspects and genres of music from nearly 700 publications (along with obituaries and book, record, and performance reviews) back to 1979. The scope is refreshingly egalitarian–serious research journals like Early Music and Asian Music receive the same thorough indexing as Blue Suede News: The House Organ of the Church of Rock “n” Roll and the alt-country vehicle No Depression.

This level of inclusion is such a welcome leap forward from the music coverage of the generic databases that it feels petty to quibble about lapses, but there are a few. If Down Beat, Q, Global Rhythm, and Gramophone are indexed, we would also expect to see Jazziz, Mojo, Songlines, and BBC Music Magazine. A handful of very new titles (like Paste and Tracks) are not yet indexed, although this is more forgivable.

Searchability From its Home page, Music Index Online provides access via two search modes: Basic and Expert. Additionally, Home provides links to the periodicals indexed and to controlled Subject and Geographic lists. None of these lists are linked to the database so searchers have to cut and paste or retype journal names, subject headings, and geographic locales into their search strategies.

Basic search mode gives the searcher a single box, but the full range of Boolean operators (AND, NOT, OR), proximity (ADJ, NEAR), and wildcard and truncation options are supported, as are nesting and the use of quotation marks to find exact phrases. Multiple terms entered without operators are ANDed by default.

It is Expert mode that tells you you’re really in Music Index Online. The search template consists of four keyword search boxes and pull-down menus for Boolean operations, far Index searching (Full Citation, Subject, Author, Article Title, and Journal Name), and for the three Word Form Options (Boolean, Sounds Like, and Off). Boolean Word Form automatically returns all forms of a search term. “Sing” not only finds “singing” but “sang” and “sung.” Sounds Like searches for alternate spellings.

Limits, imposed via pull-down menus, include Document Type, Language, Journal Classification, Years, Special Features (illustration, score, discography, etc.), and Journal Country. Unlike most resources, Music Index Online permits the user to search using Limits alone–“Journal Classification: Latin Music” with “Special Features: discography”–without entering any keywords.

Music Index Online displays results lists in multiple colors and font sizes to distinguish between the components of a bibliographic citation. We soon succumbed to the system’s colorful logic, though it is initially distracting. Otherwise, Music Index Online is an old-school bibliographic database. Subject headings are assigned to each article, the journal is assigned to a country and to one or more classification areas, notes are sometimes added to enhance the meaning of a title, and that’s about it. No abstracts, no full text, and no linking to the library catalog, although there is full-text linking to JSTOR and and the product is OpenURL compliant.

Music Index Online enables Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sorting of results in ascending or descending order on several fields, but the sorting must be done prior to running a search. Extras like marking selected results, emailing, or exporting them to a citation management application are all absent.

Price The publisher displays considerable flexibility in subscription packages. A year’s access to Music Index Online costs $2,195, the same price as a full print subscription. Libraries may bundle both formats together for $2,795, or opt for online access plus quarterly print issues for $2,595 or online plus the annual print cumulation for $2,395. Multicampus sites will pay $675 for each additional location. A free 30-day trial is available to prospective subscribers.

Who Needs It? It’s easy to get distracted by what’s missing from Music Index Online, but it’s important to realize that what’s missing is extraneous to the purpose of the product: achieving control over the expansive range of music literature. Music Index Online is tuned to the mindset and the needs of music researchers whether they are scholars, musicians, or just want to probe deeper than the web, the newsstand, or the all-purpose database. With bad reference resources, researchers never know what they might be missing. Libraries, particularly those with solid music and humanities programs, will move a lot further in the direction of good service with a subscription to Music Index Online.

Naxos Music Library

Naxos Digital Services Ltd.

Content Since its inception in 1987, Naxos has distinguished itself as the world’s premiere label for budget classical CDs. While its roster of artists and musical ensembles might not score high in name recognition, creative excellence is Naxos’s hallmark. Naxos recordings figure prominently among the annual best-of-the-year lists, and over 650 Naxos CDs have been awarded three stars by the authoritative Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.

Aside from covering the full spectrum of the classical repertoire, Naxos delves into music that the more conservative major labels don’t consider lucrative enough. The Naxos catalog is supplemented by CDs from the Marco Polo label and the Danish national recording label Dacapo. More recently Naxos has broadened its perspective with subsidiary labels that focus on jazz, New Age, and world music.

This treasure chest of some 75,000 streamed audio tracks from roughly 5000 recordings forms the basis of the Naxos Music Library. Naxos Music Library is strictly a streaming service, however, which means that users cannot download and save the music they are hearing.

Subscribers have access to new material as it is released, significant since Naxos puts out over 200 CDs a year. Naxos Music Library is accessible via password or (more typically) IP address authentication, and subscribing libraries may open it up to remote users. Audio files may be streamed at near-CD quality (64K bit-rate) or at lower sampling rate (20K) more suited to dial-up users. Naxos also offers subscribers a premium 128K option.

Searchability Once connected, users choose between FM-quality levels or near-CD quality. The listener is then deposited at the Standard Search (or browse) mode of the system where the Genres menu (Classical Music, Jazz Contemporary, Jazz Legends, Nostalgia, World/Folk, New Age, and Chinese Music) is featured. With Classical Music selected, a secondary Categories menu displays, providing access to Ballet, Chamber Music, Choral, Concertos, Early Music, Educational Film music, Instrumental, Opera/Operetta, Orchestral, and Vocal tracks, as well as Collections organized by theme, nationality, instrument, or genre. A listing of CD titles, page one of 223, occupies the main portion of the screen, below an alphabetical navigation bar that facilitates browsing the title list.

Selecting a title from this browse list brings up the CD cover art and track listing. Basic player controls include a display of the track that is playing and a menu of options including Clear All selections, Play Selections, Add to Play List, and About This Recording, which takes the user to the liner notes for the selected CD. (Notes for the complete Bach cello suites run about 1200 words and may be read in English or French.)

Navigating up and down the track listing sometimes causes a brief interruption to the audio playback. Play stopped altogether when a new search was initiated. We were thrilled to note, however, that we could open a second browser window or launch another application and leave Naxos Music Library playing blissfully in the background.

Links to New Releases, a listener’s personal Playlist of saved selections, and Advanced Search mode are also accessible from the Standard Search page. Clicking on Advanced Search produces a very sophisticated template where each search box is populated with the indexed field name and an example of what the user may enter. The Advanced Search template, however, is a bit overwhelming and could stand some reorganization. For example, although composer’s name would be a frequent query, the Compuser field is halfway down the search template, below Composer Nationality. Neither Standard nor Advanced modes support Boolean, proximity, or truncation. Help is missing as well.

How’s the sound? With a broadband connection and the near-CD quality option selected, the audio quality of the Naxos Music Library is excellent, at least by Internet standards.

While the online technical notes mention requirements for Windows machines only, we bad no trouble searching and listening on a Mac running OS X once we made the upgrade to Windows Media Player 9.0.

Price Annual subscriptions start at $750 for a minimum of five simultaneous users. Simultaneous users may be added in increments of one, and the more that are added, the greater the discount (up to 25 users). Beyond that point, subscribers pay $2500 plus $50 for each additional user. Consortia and larger institutions are invited to contact the company to discuss other pricing models. Interested libraries may arrange a free 30-day trial.

Consider this exercise: Amazon sells Naxos CDs for about $7 each. The label releases 200 new tides each year, which are automatically available online. Subscribers, even at the basic $750 level, are making accessible some $1400 worth of new releases alone each year.

Who Needs It? Although reviewed only days after its release, Naxos Music Library is already one of the most impressive products we have seen. It is a much better classical music collection–in breadth of coverage and performance quality–than most libraries could ever afford to assemble and manage, and it is growing (and diversifying) at an impressive rate. We hope to see specialty recordings (like the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music) and Naxos’s extensive collection of spoken-word recordings added. We question if users will completely embrace a music resource that does not support downloading, burning to CD, or exporting to a portable listening device. Nevertheless, the Naxos Music Library is an exceptionally well-realized product that most libraries would be thrilled to offer and listeners fortunate to experience.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (1967-Present)

National information Services Corporation (NISC)

Content Dating from 1967 through the present, RILM Abstracts of Music Literature is published by Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale (RILM) and heralded by music devotees as “the premier index to music literature,” as well as “the world’s largest, continuously updated” international bibliography of scholarly material. It includes articles, books, bibliographies, dissertations, catalogs, Festschriften, iconographies, critical commentaries to complete works, e-publications, ethnographic recordings, conference proceedings, concert reviews, and recording notes. RILM contains 330,000+ records in over 202 languages from 5200 journals, with approximately 20,000 new entries added each year.

The online version of RILM includes thousands of current citations published as recently as last month. These searchable citations are replaced with RILM’s abstracted and indexed records as soon as they become available. Updated monthly, new current citations and new complete records are added to the database, and complete entries include original-language titles, title translations in English, full bibliographic information, and abstracts in English, as well as author, journal, and in-depth subject indexes.

Subject areas include everything imaginable: historical musicology, ethnomusicology, instruments and voice, librarianship, performance practice and notation, theory and analysis, pedagogy, liturgy, dance, criticism, and music therapy, along with various interdisciplinary studies on music and related fields.

RILM recently announced that the publication Speaking of Music: Music Conferences, 1835-1966 will be available in early 2004. This volume, the fourth in the “RILM Retrospective Series,” covers 500 music conferences back to the early 19th century.

RILM has been the principal resource for libraries and music scholars for the past 35 years, and it is available in hardcover as an annual volume; on CD-ROM (MuSe: Music Search), produced and distributed by NISC; and online from NISC, CSA, EBSCO, OCLC, and Ovid.

Each vendor has an array of options. RILM Abstracts through the CSA Internet Database Service includes links to full text via a subscriber’s holdings, and search strategies can be controlled by 40 dropdown field categories. EBSCO’s version provides “SmartLinks” to full text from 275 journals indexed in RILM and available in Academic Search Hire (350 if subscribed to Premier). OCLC’s FirstSearch offers interconnection with WorldCat and other per search and subscription databases. Ovid’s SilverPlatter platform is accessible for local networks and Internet access, and institutions can take advantage of cross-database searching of RILM, International Federation of Film Archives, and Bibliography of the History of Art through an “Arts Package.”

Searchability previewed NISC’s BiblioLine search engine, principally because RILM can now be cross-searched along with RIPM: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (see Other Sources, page opposite), the subset RIPM: Index to English-Language Music Periodicals (1818-1950), and RISM: International Inventory of Musical Sources After 1600 (see Other Sources, page opposite), if subscribed. RILM citations are also now linked to full text via OpenURL or NISCLink if an institution has a subscription to any of the indexed journals.

The interface is simple. The default setting for our trial provided access via the BiblioLine BASIC Interface. BASIC is a frameless interface offering limited fields for searching. We were easily able to switch to BiblioLine PRO, the advanced option, through a link at the top of the screen. PRO is presented as three “Search Modes” to accommodate users of all levels: QUICK mode provides a Basic Search. ADVANCED offers 18 field searching options. EXPERT is an updated version of the traditional online set-searching format. This mode features full editing capability of the entire search strategy across all search sets.

We limited the majority of our preview to BASIC, and PRO ADVANCED mode. BiblioLine BASIC search page features four tabs: About, Search, Results, and Output. BASIC is the perfect mode to execute simple as well as complex searches in an efficient way. Although plain and simple, precision searching can take place using integrated Boolean logic, field limits, field searching, truncation, and range operators. The results page allows displays and sorts citations by a variety of options. Detailed cross references are displayed with search results to guide users to related terms. Navigation is straightforward, and there are four output options: email, export to database, save as text, and print.

If that doesn’t cut it, then BiblioLine PRO includes access to the three modes mentioned above; Save/Retrieve Search; Thesaurus browse; Index browse; sounds like feature; and a search of the 18 different indexes.

The NISC site provides an extensive tutorial that users can view online or download for faster access. According to RILM, the documentation and maline help was “the most comprehensive and informative of those of RILM’s five online vendors.” An Options Menu allows subscription administrators to customize many aspects of the user interface.

As we go to press, NISC is implementing new features and has announced that a new music database will be released in the second quarter of 2004, Index to Printed Music: Collections & Series. For more information, visit the web site.

Price See each vendor for individual/consortial pricing information. For all colleges with FTE under 1000 that do not specialize in the performing arts or music, RILM in cooperation with all vendors will give 50 percent off the regular subscription rate. Free trials are available.

Who Needs It? Just about any institution that wants to support its music curriculum, programs, or departments should consider placing this resource at the top of the list. Longevity goes a long way, and the depth and breadth is not easily comparable. Although we found NISC’s BiblioLine to be a superb interface, the product is readily available through many other vendors.

at a glance

                         Audience  Index/Abs           Content

Classical Music Library  MS, HS,      N/A          17,000+ tracks
Classical International    UG.                   in streaming audio
Inc.                                             format from 10,000+
www.classical.com                             recordings; biographies;
212-689-0536                                   program notes; images;
Classical International                         pay lists; MIDI files
Inc.

Grove Music Online       HS, UG,      N/A       New Grove Dictionary
Oxford University Press    SCH,                of Music and Musicians
www.grovemusic.com/        SPEC                  (2d ed.), New Grove
index.html                                      Dictionary of Opera,
800-334-4249                                    New Grove Dictionary
                                                  of Jazz (2d ad.);
                                                    nearly 50,000
                                                 articles including
                                                 23,000 biographies;
                                                5000+ illustrations;
                                                  Sibelius-enabled
                                                    music files;
                                                  3-D image files;
                                                 3000+ authoritative
Oxford University Press                         Internet music sites

International Index      UG, SCH,     yes       400,000 bibliographic
to Music Periodicals       SPEC                   records; indexing
Full Text                                          and abstracting
ProQuest Information &                          of 400+ international
Learning                                         music periodicals;
www.proquest.com                              full text for 80 titles;
800-521-0600                                        MARC records
Provider: Chadwyck-
Healey

International Index to   HS, UG,      yes       200,000 bibliographic
Performing Arts Full       SCH,                       records;
Text                       SPEC               indexing and abstracting
ProQuest Information &                          of 220+ international
Learning                                      performing arts journals;
www-proquest.com                              full text for 50 titles;
800-521 0600                                        MARC records
Provider: Chadwyck-
Healey

Music Index Online       UG, SCH,     yes         Indexing for 690
Harmonie Park Press        SPEC                  international music
www.harmonieparkpress.                               periodicals
com
800-422-4880
Harmonie Park Press

Naxos Music Library       MS,HS,      N/A     75,000 tracks in streamed
Naxos Digital Services   UG, SPEC                 audio format from
I to                                              5000 recordings;
www.naxosusa.com                                     liner notes
615-771-9393, x54
Naxos Digital Services

RILM Abstracts of Music     UG       Links     330,000+ bibliographic
Literature (1967-          SCH,       to          records for 5300
Present)                   SPEC    full text  journals; external links
National Information                            to full text sources.
Services Corp.
www.nisc.com; www.rilm.
org.
410-243-0797
Provider RILM

                          Dates        Search Featrues       Rating

Classical Music Library    N/A          Quick Search           B
Classical International                    Browse
Inc.                                      Advanced
www.classical.com                      Field Searching
212-689-0536                               Boolean
Classical International                Spell checking
Inc.

Grove Music Online         N/A    Basic and Advanced Search    A
Oxford University Press                    Browse
www.grovemusic.com/                        Explore
index.html                                 Boolean
800-334-4249                              Limiting

Oxford University Press

International Index       1874-        Search articles         A
to Music Periodicals     present     and journal titles
Full Text                              Browse journals
ProQuest Information &                 Field Searching
Learning                                   Boolean
www.proquest.com                          Proximity
800-521-0600                             Truncation
Provider: Chadwyck-
Healey

International Index to    1864-        Search articles         A
Performing Arts Full     present     and journal titles
Text                                   Browse journals
ProQuest Information &                 Field Searching
Learning                                   Boolean
www-proquest.com                          Proximity
800-521 0600                             Truncation
Provider: Chadwyck-
Healey

Music Index Online        1979-   Basic and Advanced Search    A-
Harmonie Park Press       2003         Field Searching
www.harmonieparkpress.                     Boolean
com                                       Proximity
800-422-4880                              Proximity
Harmonie Park Press                      Truncation

Naxos Music Library        N/A            Standard             A+
Naxos Digital Services                 (Browse) Search
I to                                   Advanced Search
www.naxosusa.com                       Field Searching
615-771-9393, x54
Naxos Digital Services

RILM Abstracts of Music   1967-       Basic, Advanced,         A+
Literature (1967-        present    and Expert Searching
Present)                                   Boolean
National Information                      Proximity
Services Corp.                           Truncation
www.nisc.com; www.rilm.
org.
410-243-0797                             Sounds Like
Provider RILM                             Thesaurus

KEY ES: Grades K-5 MS: Grades 6-8 HS: High School UG:
Undergraduates SCH: Scholarly researchers SPEC: subject specialists

The Downloaded Library

Apple legitimized music downloading when it launched iTunes Music Store in 2003, but there are other services available, and they offer a lot of music. The reformed Napster alone makes some 500,000 tracks available for download, as does iTunes. Musicmatch has about 400,000 tunes in its digital vault, and eMusic offers about 275,000.

Major labels are, for the most part, agreeable to this business model, although complete catalogs are not yet online. Neither are complete CDs in many cases. Downloading is more of a song-oriented phenomenon than an album-oriented one.

As a way of distinguishing themselves from their competitors, and in an attempt to enhance their credibility, the services frequently stress how many independent labels they have succeeded in bringing on board, eMusic has alliances with some 900 indie labels, while Apple has about 200 independents. Most musical genres are represented, although not in enough depth that a library could create a core collection using downloads alone.

All the services allow the searcher to listen to a 20- to 30-second sample of any song, and all permit the burning of CDs from legally downloaded music.

Searching and features

Online music providers employ relatively basic browse and search capabilities. iTunes, for example, supports searching by song tide, artist, album title, and composer, with a pull-down menu for musical genre. Record label, an important and obvious search index, is missing.

Canned play lists, some of them contributed by celebrities, are intended to enhance a site’s appeal. Again, the song-oriented bias of the services is evident, and for libraries such a feature is relatively useless. We would much prefer to see the services identify full-length CDs from sources like the Gramophone Awards, Down Beat Annual Critics Poll, or Village Voice national Pazz and Jop poll.

Price and payment

In general, 99 [cents] per song and $9.99 per album have emerged as the standard price points for downloaded digital music. Walmart has characteristically low-balled the market, selling music for 88 [cents] per song and $9.44 per album. With retail record prices typically in the $18 to $19 range, this is a welcome break.

A credit card–not the purchase order–is the fiscal instrument in the world of downloaded music, and none of these services are amenable to the way libraries typically conduct business. Apple–with both its monthly Allowances that permit a parent to set a limit on how much music a child can acquire and a Gift Certificate option–is part-way there. But if libraries have learned to cope with debit accounts and blocks of searches, they should be able to work out the payment for these services.

The library impact

While collection development is the obvious area where downloading could have an impact on libraries, there are other unique advantages. It’s one way to assemble a CD full of tracks from a variety of different sources and create a completely legal compilation for a music appreciation class. (Most providers permit the user to burn multiple copies.)

Downloading is also a potential solution for libraries that need to replace a single damaged or missing disc from a boxed set. The catch is that boxed ets are underrepresented in the online sources, and often only partial albums are available.

Finally, there’s the reference aspect. The exasperated librarian who spends four days trying to track down any recording of the patriotic anthem “Over There” for a student to use in a history lesson might even whip out her own credit card to get the question resolved.

other sources

JSTOR–Music Collection

JSTOR

www.jstor.org; 888-388-3574

Thirty-two scholarly titles dedicated to research and theory in the field of music comprise the music collection, one of six major discipline-specific collections. This international collection includes journals published in the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and France. All 32 titles in the Music Collection are also available as part of the Arts & Sciences III Collection. Titles include Acta Musicologica, Early Music History, Music & Letters, and Tempo. Audience: Academic and special libraries.

RIPM: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals 1800-1950

NISC

www.nisc.com

RIPM: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals 1800-1950, with over 430,000 annotated citations, is one of the three international cooperative bibliographic resources in music. RIPM provides citations to articles from nearly 80 international 19th- and 20th-century music periodicals. Expanded coverage of 20th-century titles is in progress. The database now includes RIPM: Index to English-Language Music Periodicals (1818-1918), one of the first of several planned subsets, with 155,000 annotated citations, indexing “some of the century’s most important” English-language music periodicals. Cross-searchable with RILM (see review) and RISM (see below). Audience: Academic and special libraries.

RISM: The international inventory of Musical Sources

NISC

www.nisc.com

This online resource provides access to one of the International Inventory of Musical Sources (RISM) series, A/II: Music Manuscripts After 1600, as well as three other related databases. A/II contains annotated bibliographic records of music manuscripts after 1600 (mainly 1600-1850). It comprises 380,000+ bibliographic entries representing 31 countries and over 595 libraries and archives. The Music manuscript database is linked to three other databases that provide additional information to specific content: RISM Composer, RISM Libraries Sigla, and RISM Bibliographic Citations Database. RISM Composer contains over 24,000 composer names taken from RISM Series A/I and A/II. RISM Libraries Sigla identifies over 6000 libraries worldwide that hold music materials relevant to RISM series. RISM Bibliographic Citations contains references for all thematic catalogs and other secondary sources cited in RISM A/II. Cross-searchable with RILM (see review) and RIPM (see above). Audience: Academic and special libraries.

Boffin comes out fighting

Boffin comes out fighting

The head of Birmingham University’s materials research centre says that after 10 years of cuts, enough is enough and it’s time to fight back. Kam Patel reports

Few smiles adorn the faces of engineering researchers in universities these days. A decade of government cuts in funding has left them astonished, bewildered and angry.

|It has been an appalling 10 years,’ says Professor Mike Loretto, head of the Inter-disciplinary Research Centre (IRC) for high-performance materials at Birmingham University. |I can’t see how chopping university research funding is going to help us maintain a strong science and engineering base that is so vital to the economy,’ he says vehemently.

But the seething anger is giving way to a hard-headed resolve to fight tooth and nail for any cash that’s going. |I’m making damned sure that we have the resources at this centre. I may get my fingers rapped for spending too much money but the end results will be well worth it,’ he says.

The centre is one of several IRCs set up by the Science and Engineering Research Council to promote multidisciplinary research that matches the needs of industry as well as carry out more theoretical work. The materials IRC was set up in 1989 with an 11 million [pounds] grant. The centre is split between the Birmingham site — which accounts for two-thirds of the resource — and University College Swansea.

Other IRC’s include the engineering design centre at Glasgow University, surface science at Liverpool University, and semiconductor materials at Imperial College, London.

The materials IRC at Birmingham is impressive and Loretto clearly regards it as one of very few bright spots on an otherwise bleak university research landscape. The spacious, well laid-out laboratories are kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment for investigating material properties and behaviour. The centre has a grand aim to match. |As far as we are concerned we haven’t got a new or better material until we’ve got a component made from it that can be put into service,’ says Loretto.

The philosophy neatly sums up the huge and demanding brief he has set for the centre and its 150 researchers. It has turned part of Birmingham’s engineering campus — with the help of the mechanical engineering department — into a mini-plant working raw materials, designing and making components, carrying out tests and evaluating the materials and processes at every stage.

So far Loretto’s gamble on buying industrial-standard processing equipment and bang up-to-date testing and examination instruments seems to have paid off. The centre has attracted industry support valued at over 1.5 million [pounds] and top-quality researchers. Companies linking up with the centre include British Aerospace, IMI, Rolls-Royce, and Lucas.

Work at the centre is firmly grounded in bread and butter research programmes: new manufacturing processes, investigation of the internal structure of materials, and the use of computers in materials engineering.

Topics include processing and production of ceramic materials, |live’ studies of materials under load at different temperatures, watched over by a scanning electron microscope, and computer modelling of solidification. A total of 22 basic research programmes covering the three areas are currently on the go.

This fundamental research underpins industrially-funded work. One project for Lucas Aerospace looks to develop cheaper, lighter, and corrosion-resistant aircraft actuators using a technique known as diffusion bonding. Diffusion bonding joins metals using intense heat and pressure to achieve atomic scale mating of the two surfaces. Another project, for the MoD, aims to establish the influence of alloy content and processing routes on the mechanical properties of aluminium-based alloys.

In all its work the centre uses industrially available material as a base-line against which to measure progress in developing new materials. |Everything is geared for industrial exploitation,’ says Loretto.

All clever stuff but materials science and technology in the UK has a lot of catching up to do if it is to successfully compete with countries such as Japan and the US, he says. |We are already 10 years behind in several key areas of materials technology which have huge economic potential, and it’s getting worse.’

He is dismissive of the government’s attempts to force universities to earn their keep by generating more cash through industrial collaboration. |Companies are not that keen on dishing out money to universities if they can do it themselves, which most big companies can.’ University’s are now being used mainly for their theoretical clout or for their special facilities, he says.

A similar situation prevails in Japan and the US but the big difference there, especially in Japan, is the attitude of companies to long-term investment and R&D, he says. |They throw so much money at the problem that they don’t mind that 90% of the work isn’t successful. Sometimes it has all been a complete waste of time, but they know that the bits that do pan out can have huge economic potential.’

UK industry’s short-termism precludes this and the problem is made much worse during economic downturns, says Loretto. He lays much of the blame for this on the financial sector which forces companies to adopt this attitude.

Short of a dramatic turnaround in the financial world’s thingking — which he does not anticipate — the only hope for safeguarding the UK’s science and engineering base is R&D in the institutions of higher education, argues Loretto.

MFA programs

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 48: both studio and academic. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006, for fall (to be considered for a Merit Award). Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: Dept. of Literature, 237 Battelle-Tompkins, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20026. 202-885-2971. www.american.edu/cas/lit/mfa-lit.htm.

ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY Low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Dual concentration available. Also offers 6 month certificate in the Pedagogy of Creative Writing, including a postgraduate semester of study and supervised teaching. Credits: Single-genre concentration, 2-year low-residency program (48 semester units); dual-genre concentration, 2 12-year low-residency program (60 semester units). Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for June residency; Sept. 1, 2006, for December residency. The Post-MFA Certificate deadlines are Sept. 15 and March 15. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 400 Corporate Pointe, Culver City, CA 90230. 1-800-726-8462. admissions@antiochla.edu. www.antiochla.edu.

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ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY MCGREGOR Low-residency MA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, screenwriting and playwriting. Credits: 60; foundation courses (10); theory and electives (15); specialized study (25); thesis (10). Two brief residencies required. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 800 Livermore St., Yellow Springs, OH 45387. 937-769-1818. sas@mcgregor.edu. www.mcgregor.edu.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, playwriting and fiction. Credits: 48: creative writing courses (24); literature (24). Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Graduate assistantships and teaching assistantships available. Contact: Dept. of English, Box 870302, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287. 480-965-3528. karla.elling@asu. edu. www.asu.edu.

BENNINGTON COLLEGE Low-residency MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 64; 2-year low-residency format. 10-day on-campus residencies at the beginning of each semester, followed by 6 months of independent study. Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for summer residency; Sept. 15, 2006, for winter residency. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: Writing Seminars, One College Dr., Bennington, VT 05201. 802-440-4452. writing@ bennington.edu. www.bennington.edu.

BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 48: workshops (12); MFA coursework (9); English Dept. electives (18); other electives (3); thesis (6). Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Graduate assistantships and teaching assistantships. Contact: 1910 University Dr., Boise, ID 83725. 208-426-2195. jholmes@boisestate.edu. www.boisestate.edu/english/mfa/.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY MA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, drama and poetry. Credits: 32, usually taken in one year. Application deadline: March 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Full-tuition scholarships and teaching fellowships available. Contact: 236 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02215. 617-252-2510. www.bu.edu/writing/.

BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry and fiction. Credits: 40: workshops (19); techniques (3); editing (3); thesis (6); electives (9). Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Graduate assistantships; four Devine summer, nonservice fellowships each year. Contact: Dept. of English, Bowling Green, OH 43403. 419-372-8370. mmcgowa@ bgnet.bgsu.edu. www.bgsu.edu/departments/creative-writing/home.html.

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Credits: 54. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006, for fall; Oct. 15, 2006, for spring. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 5245 N. Backer Ave., M/S PB98, Fresno, CA 93740. 559-278-2553. lgribben@csufresno.edu. www.csufresno.edu/crwr.

CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY MFA Program. Concentrations: Fiction with secondary studies including screenwriting, playwriting and poetry. Credits: 42-unit, 3-year program with classes evenly divided between writing and literature classes. Application deadline: Rolling. Scholarships and fellowships: All prospective students are automatically considered for graduate fellowships, but apply early for timely consideration. Contact: One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866. 714-997-6711. engdept@chapman.edu. www.chapman.edu.

CHATHAM COLLEGE MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and children and adolescent writing. Certificate available in Pedagogy of Creative Writing. Credits: 39. Contact: Woodland Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15232. 412-365-1825; 800-837-1290. admissions@chatham.edu. www.chatham.edu.

COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO MFA in Creative Writing; MFA in Poetry. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 45. Application deadline: Jan. 2, 2006 (poetry); Feb. 1, 2006 (creative writing). Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 600 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60605. 312-344-7260. gradsch@colum.edu. www.colum.edu.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Application deadline: Jan. 2, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships. Contact: School of Arts, Writing Division, Columbia University, 415 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. 212-854-4391. writing@columbia.edu. www.columbia.edu/cu/arts/writing.

EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MFA Program. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and literary nonfiction. Credits: 72 minimum. Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for teaching assistantship. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships and nonresident tuition waivers available. Contact: 705 W. 1st Ave., Spokane, WA 99201. 509-623-4221. www.creativewriting.ewu.edu.

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EMERSON COLLEGE MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 52: writing workshops (20); literature workshops (16); electives (12); thesis (4). Application deadline: Jan. 5, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: $10,000 Presidential fellowships; graduate assistantships, $3,000-$5,000/semester. Contact: Office of Graduate Admission, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116. 617-824-8750. gradapp@ emerson.edu. www.emerson.edu/writing_lit_publishing/.

GODDARD COLLEGE Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, playwriting, screenwriting and cross-genre. Credits: 48; 8-day residency at the beginning of each semester. Application deadline: Rolling admissions. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 123 Pitkin Rd., Plainfield, VT 05667. 800-906-8312. admissions@goddard.edu. www.goddard.edu.

GOUCHER COLLEGE Limited-Residency MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Concentrations: Creative nonfiction. Credits: 36. Application deadline: Feb. 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: None. Contact: Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd., Baltimore, MD 21204. 800-697-4646. psims@goucher. edu. www.goucher.edu/mfa.

HAMLINE UNIVERSITY MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, children’s literature or any combination of genres. Credits: 48: core class (4); workshops (24); interdisciplinary graduate-level courses (12); thesis work (8). Application deadline: March 15, 2006, for fall; Sept. 15, 2006, for spring. Scholarships and fellowships: One scholarship a year for one course. Contact: Graduate Liberal Studies Program, MSA1730, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104. 651-523-2900. gradprog@hamline.edu. www.hamline.edu/graduate/gls.

LESLEY UNIVERSITY Low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction and writing for young people. Credits: 48: Unique Interdisciplinary Studiescomponent allows students to work on projects such as internships, teaching, research, book reviewing, interviewing, etc. Application deadline: April 1, 2006, for fall; Oct. 1, 2006, for spring. Scholarships and fellowships: Some work/study financial aid through Lesley University’s graduate assistant program; occasional merit scholarships available. Contact: 29 Everett St., Cambridge, MA 02138. 617-349-8369. jvanderv@lesley.edu. www.lesley.edu/gsass/creative_writing/index.html.

MANHATTANVILLE COLLEGE MA in Creative Writing Program. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 32, including 2-credit Summer Writers’ Week and Fall Writers’ Weekend. Numerous noncredit Master Classes and opportunities to “Meet the Writers” at fall and spring talks and book signings. Application deadline: Rolling admissions. Scholarships and fellowships: A graduate scholarship is awarded to an advanced student selected to serve as editor of Inkwell, Manhattanville’s nationally recognized literary journal (www.inkwelljournal.org). Contact: 2900 Purchase St., Purchase, NY 10577. 914-694-3425. dowdr@mville.edu. www.mville.edu.

MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY, MANKATO MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 48; combines a studio/workshop and academic program of study. Application deadline: Rolling deadline. Deadline for teaching assistantship consideration is Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: The Robert Wright scholarship offers modest support for tuition and books to 3 winners. Teaching assistantships also available. Contact: 230 Armstrong Hall, Mankato, MN 56001. 507-389-2117. stephen.stoynoff@mnsu.edu. www.english.mnsu.edu.

NAROPA UNIVERSITY MFA in Writing and Poetics; Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Prose, poetry and translation. Credits: 49: summer writing program (16); writing workshops (9); literature seminars (9); electives (6); contemplative course (3); mss and thesis (6). Application deadline: Jan. 15, 2006, for summer and fall; Oct. 15, 2006, for spring. Scholarships and fellowships: Contact us for scholarship information. Contact: 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, CO 80302. 303-546-3572; 1-800-772-6951. admissions@naropa.edu. www.naropa.edu/writingandpoetics.

NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 54: workshops (12); workshop in second genre (3); form and technique courses (6); English 599, required thesis work (3-12); master workshop (3); electives (6-12). Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Graduate assistantships available. Contact: MSC 3E, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88001. 505-646-3931. english@nmsu.edu. www.nmsu.edu/~english/programs/mfacw.htm.

THE NEW SCHOOL MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction and writing for children. Credits: 36. Application deadline: Jan. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Merit-based. Contact: Office of Admissions, 66 W. 12th St., Rm. 401, New York, NY 10011. 212-229-5630. nsadmissions@newschool.edu. www.nsu.newschool.edu/writing/01_welcome.htm.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 32: writing workshops (16); craft course (4); literature courses (12); creative thesis required. Application deadline: Dec. 15. Scholarships and fellowships: Full or partial departmental fellowships consisting of tuition remission and/or stipend support. Some fellowship support is available through outreach programs and teaching opportunities. All students are also considered for several New York Times fellowships. Contact: NYU Creative Writing Program, 19 University Pl., Rm. 219, New York, NY 10003. 212-998-8816. creative.writing@nyu.edu. http://cwp.fas.nyu. edu/page/home.

NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Credits: 48. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching fellowships, graduate teaching assistantships and nonteaching assistantships available. Contact: English Dept., 1401 Presque Isle Ave., Marquette, MI 49855. 906-227-1386. bmathern@nmu.edu. www.nmu.edu/mfa/.

OTIS COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 56: workshops (16); literary seminars (33); tutorial/thesis (7). Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Fellowships, TAs/internships. Contact: 9045 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. 310-665-6892. grads@otis.edu. www.otis.edu/gw.

MFA-programs-3

PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY MFA at Penn State. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Credits: 48: literary study (15); workshops (15); final project (12); electives (6). Application deadline: Jan. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Typically, all students are funded with a teaching assistantship; Katey Lehman Fellowship is awarded to one incoming student. Contact: 107 Burrowes Bldg., University Park, PA 16802. 814-863-3069. jmw6@psu.edu. http:// english.la.psu.edu/.

QUEENS UNIVERSITY OF CHARLOTTE Low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and writing for stage and screen. Credits: 48. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006, for summer/fall; Oct. 15, 2006, for winter/spring. Scholarships and fellowships: None. Contact: 1900 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, NC 28274. 704-337-2335. kobrem@queens.edu. www.queens.edu.

SARAH LAWRENCE MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708. 914-395-2371. grad@mail.slc.edu. www.sarahlawrence.edu.

SETON HILL UNIVERSITY Low-Residency MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Concentrations: Popular fiction: mystery, science fiction, romance and children’s literature. Credits: 36, over 2 years: 4 semesters of independent study; 2 5-day residencies per year. Application deadline: October (priority), November (regular) for January residency; April (priority) and May (regular) for June residency of same year. Contact: One Seton Hill Dr., Greensburg, PA 15601. 724-830-4600. lynn@setonhill.edu. www.setonhill.edu.

SPALDING UNIVERSITY Brief Residency MFA in Writing Program. Concentrations: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children, screenwriting and playwriting. Students can minor in a second area of concentration. Credits: 64; consists of 4 semesters and 5 10-day residencies. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006, for spring; July 1, 2006, for fall. Scholarships and fellowships: Scholarships, graduate assistantships and financial aid are available. Contact: 851 S. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40203. 502-585-9911. mfa@spalding.edu. www.spalding.edu/mfa.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF CALIFORNIA MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 42; 2 years. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Several. Contact: P.O. Box 4686, Moraga, CA 94575. 925631-4762. writers@stmarys-ca.edu. www.stmarys-ca.edu.

STONECOAST Brief-residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine. Concentrations: Creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, popular fiction. Credits: 60; 4 semesters, 5 10-day residencies. Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for summer; Sept. 1, 2006, for winter. Scholarships and fellowships: Partial scholarships available. Contact: 122 Deering Ave., Portland, ME 04104. 207-780-5262. stonecoastmfa@usm.maine.edu. www.usm.maine.edu/stonecoastmfa.

THE SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry or interdisciplinary and/or studio. Credits: 60: graduate writing workshop (6); topics in writing seminar (6); graduate projects (24); electives (12); workshops, topics or interdisciplinary seminars (12). Application deadline: November for spring; February 2006 for fall. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 37 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60603. 312-899-5219. admiss@artic.edu. www.artic.edu/saic.

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Credits: 36, with creative-writing workshops and craft seminars. Application deadline: Dec. 1. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships, scholarships, prizes, tuition waivers available. Contact: Dept. of English, 445 Modern Languages Bldg., P.O. Box 210067, Tucson, AZ 85721. 520-621-3880. creativewriting@english.arizona.edu. www.arizona.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Credits: 54, over 3 years. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships and fellowships available to the most qualified applicants. Contact: Dept. of English, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844. 208-885-6156. rwrigley@uidaho.edu. www.class.uidaho. edu/english/CW.

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Iowa Writer’s Workshop MFA. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 48, over 2 years. Application deadline: Jan. 3, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Yes. Contact: 102 Dey House, 507 N. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA 52242. 319-335-0416. www.uiowa.edu/~iww.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 36 units in writing, literature and thesis. Application deadline: Dec. 15. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships. Contact: 435 S. State St., 3187 Angell Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. 734-764-6330. grad.eng.admis@umich.edu. www.lsa.umich.edu/english/.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 39, including workshops, final writing project and courses in literature, linguistics, comp theory, journal editing, etc. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Contact: 8001 Natural Bridge Rd., St. Louis, MO 63121. 314-516-6845. marytroy@umsl.edu. www.umsl.edu/~mfa/.

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN MA in Creative Writing; PhD in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: MA: 24 hours of coursework, 6 hours of thesis. PhD: 90 hours of literature, creative writing, thesis. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships, graduate-college fellowships. Contact: Dept. of English, 202 Andrews Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588. 402-472-1828. nspencer@ unl.edu. www.unl.edu/english.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO MFA in Creative Writing (also offers MA in Professional Writing). Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 49, including writing workshops, literature, genre, introduction to profession, thesis. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships; Poets & Writers Reading Series assistantship; Blue Mesa Review Editorial fellowship; Taos Summer Writers Conference administrative fellowships. Contact: MSC 03 2170, Albuquerque, NM 87131. 505-277-6248. swarner@unm.edu. www.unm.edu/~english.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS Low-Residency MFA Program. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting and screenwriting. Credits: 45, with 18 earned in residence. Distance learning combined with studyabroad. Workshops offered in France, Spain and Italy. Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2006. Contact: University of New Orleans, Box 582, New Orleans, LA 70148. 504-280-7457. wlavende@uno.edu. http://lowres.uno.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 36 hours; 2-year residency program with an emphasis on studio time. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Fellowships, research assistantships and teaching assistantships are available, as are out-of-state tuition waivers. Contact: MFA Writing Program, Dept. of English, 134 McIver Building, UNCG, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170. 336334-5459. jlclark@uncg.edu. www.uncg.edu/eng/mfa.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS MA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Small program with emphasis on individual mentoring. Credits: 36 in workshop, literature, literary criticism, genre, thesis. Application deadline: Ongoing. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships, teaching fellowships, editorial positions with American Literary Review. Contact: Dept. of English, P.O. Box 311307, Denton, TX 76203. 940-565-2050. brodman@unt.edu. www.engl.unt.edu/programs/cr_writing.

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry and fiction. Credits: 36-48 in writing workshops, literature courses, translation, a literary publishing course and thesis. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Full-tuition scholarships for all admitted students. Additional teaching and editorial fellowships, including the Sparks Fellows and the Sparks Summer Internships, also available. Contact: Creative Writing Program, Dept. of English, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. 574-631-7526. creativewriting@nd.edu. www.nd.edu/~alcwp.

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA MPW in Professional Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting. Credits: 32. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Contact: Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication, 395 West Lindsey, Norman, OK 73019. 405-325-2721. jmadisondavis@ou.edu. http://jmc.ou.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Poetry and fiction. Credits: 72, including workshops, literature courses, writing, thesis. Application deadline: Jan. 15, 2006. Contact: 5243 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. 541-346-3944. crwrweb@darkwing.uoregon.edu. www.uoregon.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO MFA in Writing. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Credits: 33, including writing workshops, literature courses, autobiography, thesis. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Merit scholarships, teaching assistantships. Contact: Lone Mountain, Rm. 340, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117. 415-422-2382. mfaw@usfca.edu. www.usfca.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MA of Professional Writing Program. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction, cinema/TV/ drama and poetry. Credits: 30; multidisciplinary program that prepares individuals for careers in writing in all genres. Application deadline: Dec. 1 for spring; July 1, 2006, for fall. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships, endowment and merit scholarships. Contact: WPH 404, Los Angeles, CA 90089. 213-740-3252. mpw@usc.edu. www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/mpw.

VERMONT COLLEGE OF UNION INSTITUTE AND UNIVERSITY MFA in Writing; MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults. Concentrations: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and writing for children/young adults. Credits: 64, over 2 years. Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for fall; Sept. 1, 2006, for spring. Contact: 36 College St., Montpelier, VT 05602. 800-336-6794. vcadmis@tui.edu. www.tui.edu.

WARREN WILSON COLLEGE Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction and poetry. Credits: 10-day residency of workshops combined with nonresident semester of highly focused study. Application deadline: March 1, 2006, for summer; Sept. 1, 2006, for winter. Contact: The MFA Program for Writers, Warren Wilson College, P.O. Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815. 828-771-3715. mfa@warren-wilson.edu. www.warren-wilson.edu/~mfa.

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MFA Program in Creative Writing. Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Credits: 45, including workshops, literature, pedagogy, thesis. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006, for assistantships. Scholarships and fellowships: Most students receive teaching assistantships that include a stipend plus a tuition waiver. Contact: Dept. of English, P.O. Box 6296, Morgantown, WV 26506. 304-293-3107. write@wvu.edu. www.as.wvu.edu/english/cw.

WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY MFA in Creative Writing (also offers PhD in Creative Writing). Concentrations: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry and playwriting. Credits: 48, including creative-writing workshops, literature courses, MFA project. Application deadline: Feb. 1, 2006. Scholarships and fellowships: Teaching assistantships. Contact: English Department, 1903 Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. 269-387-2572. www.wmich.edu/english.

EACH MONTH, The Writer provides selected listings for literary markets and other writing-related resources. Information in this section is provided to The Writer by the individual markets; for more information, contact the markets directly.

[F] = Fiction

[N] = Nonfiction

[P] = Poetry

[$] = Offers payment

FNAR = First North American Rights

FNASR = First North American Serial Rights

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MFA students spread their wings

Nicole Helget began her MFA in creative writing at Minnesota State University Mankato with three children and sold her first book while still a student. She’s since finished numerous books, had three more children, and now works as an English teacher. “She’s everyone’s example of Wonder Woman,” says Richard Robbins, director of MSU Mankato’s writing program.

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She’s also an example of the type of writer you’ll find in MFA programs around the country. Contrary to the popular image of a typical graduate student–ages 26 to 35, child-free–those who hone their literary skills through an advanced degree may have kids, a spouse and full-time work. They may even–like one MSU graduate, Bill McDonald–receive their diploma at age 70.

MFA directors, recognizing the diversity of student experiences, offer an enticing range of opportunities. In the course of perfecting their poetry and prose, emerging writers can also teach undergraduates and homeless youth, collaborate with visual artists and horseback-riding instructors, and learn technical and medical writing. The four MFA programs that follow offer a sense of the exciting developments in higher education for writers at any stage of life.

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Small-town support at Minnesota State University Mankato.

Minnesota State University Mankato offers MFA students community beyond the classroom. “When you’re a small town, and most everybody lives in town, people see each other outside of class,” Robbins explains. “A whole social fabric gets established.”

For 24 years, Robbins has directed the Good Thunder Reading Series, which has attracted the likes of Sharon Olds, George Saunders and Amy Bloom–as well as graduate students, faculty, high school students and others.

MSU Mankato has a reputation for friendliness. “The faculty aren’t hiding in their offices with their lights off,” Robbins says of a staff that includes fiction writer Diana Joseph and poet/saxophonist Richard Terrill. “We’re very student-centered.”

The program gives writers three years to complete their MFA, instead of the typical two. “This allows you to make progress and establish a writing regimen,” Robbins explains. “There’s a world of difference in the quality of writing in three years, as opposed to two.”

Students take courses in technical editing, desktop publishing and grant writing, along with their classes on poetry and prose. They work as teaching assistants, and as editors of the university’s journal, Blue Ridge Review.

Caitlin O’Sullivan earned her MFA from MSU Mankato and went on to found The Postcard Press, a micropress that publishes one poem or short story each month in the form of a 4-by-6 postcard. Other students have started a chapbook press, curated a reading series, and taught at universities.

Still, for some, the MFA isn’t a career path but rather a fulfillment of a dream. “There are people,” Robbins says, “who enter a fine-arts program knowing it will engage them in a community that will help them to take their writing to another level.”

Length: Two to three years. Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, teachingassistant positions. Contact: Richard Robbins, director, Department of English, Minnesota State University Mankato, 230 Armstrong Hall, Mankato, MN 56001. 507-389-1354. Website: english.mnsu.edu/cw/cwmfa.html.

Interdisciplinary collaboration at California Institute of the Arts.

Internship opportunities abound in Los Angeles, the home of California Institute of the Arts. Students working toward an MFA in writing can teach writing at a homeless shelter, in conjunction with a therapeutic horseback-riding program, and at Casa de la Raza Community Center, with its vibrant downtown performance space.

“There’s a student-run reading series to introduce them to the literary community and an emphasis on being part of a community of artists,” says program chair Janet Sarbanes.

  • CalArts also offers students opportunities to teach undergraduate composition, and to edit the journal Black Clock. Course subjects range from narrative structure and experimental nonfiction to “Tiny Press Practices” and “Testimony and Magical Realism.”
  • CalArts faculty encourage multidisciplinary collaboration among writing students and those in the schools of art, music, film, theater and dance. Professors demonstrate the possibilities for emerging artists through their own work. CalArts teacher, poet and performer Douglas Kearney recently co-produced Crescent City–a combination art installation and “hyper-opera” presented over three weeks in Los Angeles.

Students may pursue an interschool degree for interdisciplinary studies, and CalArts’ Center for Integrated Media offers a supplemental program for students attracted to multiple forms of media and technology.

One project to come out of the center is Katie Shook and Eric Lindley’s “His Hands Make an Army; His Hands Make a Hospital”–a performance combining text, puppetry and music to tell the story of siblings affected by industrialization and foreign conflict on their New Mexican farm.

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“We also have very strong writers who just come through and do writing,” Sarbanes says, “but it’s a very stimulating environment for any writer because you can see what’s going on in other art forms.”

Length: Two years. Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, teachingassistant positions. Contact: Janet Sarbanes, chair, MFA Writing Program, California Institute of the Arts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355. 661-255-1050. Website: writing.calarts.edu.

Professional writing preparation at Western Connecticut State University

The faculty of Western Connecticut State University’s MFA program provide students with the skills needed to make a living as a writer. “Our students specialize in one creative and one practical genre,” coordinator Brian Clements says of the low-residency program. Courses range from poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and drama to technical writing, investigative journalism and agent/editor networking.

The program attracts retirees, people who’ve just finished undergraduate studies, and everyone in between. Residencies take place twice a year, packed with workshops, lectures, panel discussions and agent presentations. “We have fun, but we get a lot of work done,” Clements says.

The MFA coordinator helps writers design an enrichment project to build professional skills. Students have launched online publications and community literacy programs, learned photography and foreign languages, and taught in K-12 schools and as teaching assistants. In addition to publishing and teaching, alumni work in the entertainment industry, for literary agencies, and for trade journals such as Folio.

Length: Two years. Residency months: January and August. Financial aid: Grants, loans and teaching-assistant positions. Contact: Brian Clements, coordinator, MFA in Creative and Professional Writing, Western Connecticut State University, Higgins Hall #205B, Western Connecticut State University, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810. 203-837-8876. Website: wcsu.edu/writing/mfa.

Dedication to reading and writing at Oregon State University.

“We teach the discipline of writing,” says Marjorie Sandor, the director of the MFA program in creative writing at Oregon State University. “And we also teach people to be part of a community that has a sense of the value of art in general, so that when [they] go into other communities, they carry that value with them–and that makes the world a better place.”

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Students in OSU’s MFA program have time to focus on creating great art; they’re fully funded through teaching assistant positions and stipends. Sandor says a new research-assistant position offers writers a bridge to arts administration and literary outreach.

The program also hosts an editorial festival where book publishers, agents and editors meet with students. Still, the program focuses primarily on literary analysis and the aesthetics of writing.

“We’re dedicated to the notion of an MFA program as a place to learn to write,” Sandor says, “to acquire discipline, and the habit of writing.”

Length: Two years. Financial aid: Full funding for all students through teaching-assistant positions; opportunities for additional stipends, fellowships and scholarships. Contact: Marjorie Sandor, director, MFA in Creative Writing Program, 238 Moreland Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331. 541-737-3244. Website: oregonstate.edu/cla/wlf/mfa.

Melissa Hart is the author of the memoir Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood. Web: melissahart.com.