Done and Dusted

Facing a rather demanding month, I decided I had to grab my deadlines by the scruff of the neck, shake them firmly and get them all neatly sorted.  By the 1st November, no less.  By dint of a bit of tactical rescheduling, I’ve got things just about organised to my liking.

This week, therefore, the research component of my work entailed:-

  • Submitting a grant application (it had gone from idea to submission in eight days flat); and
  • Editing a lecture and powerpoint, recording them for use in a month’s time, and updating a bibliography.

Additionally, the extended, dedicated special issue of Brio went off to the printer’s today.  Although I’ve been the guest co-editor for this issue, I can’t take any of the credit for the editing or proofing of anything except the bits I authored – I had more to do with commissioning the articles and chasing them up in time for the printing date!  Nonetheless, since it’s a major output for last year’s networking project, it is a great relief to know that it is on its way!

Meanwhile, I still had the larger part of my week to fulfil as a librarian, including some more user education – mercifully not quite as much as I’d done last week!  And the lecture, although I worked on it in research time, is actually one of those occasions where Librarian-meets-Researcher slap bang in the middle.  It concerns historical Scottish sources in the library.  They’re all there, and the students need to know about them – but I wouldn’t know any of the books’ history if they hadn’t been the subjects of my own doctoral research.

Moreover, I needed to play my own musical examples and get them recorded, too.  Now, I try to avoid EVER playing an instrument at work, because the students and their teachers are so blooming brilliant that I feel worse than overshadowed.  However, it was clearly unacceptable to contemplate playing CDs, on a recorded lecture that might end up online, so the only way to be sure there were no copyright issues was to record the examples myself.  Oh, the horror!  I tried singing to my own accompaniment last night, but I didn’t like the sound I made, so I resorted to playing what I could, and hoping it won’t sound too ragged for the student audience!  (At least I won’t be there to hear it!)

It’s a rather strange feeling, on the 1st  of the month, to know that – if I’m not actually ahead of myself – then I am, certainly, up to date with everything that should be done.

Now, about that list of church choir contributions that I promised to finalise this weekend …

This and not That

In the brave new world of higher retirement ages, I have a few years to go before I retire.  Since I’ve really tried to develop my career creatively and flexibly, I genuinely have no problem with this.  I’m not ready to retire – I still have more to offer, most particularly with  regard to research, writing and teaching.  Let me put it graphically – I want ultimately to retire on a high note (see header image above).  And I categorically do not wish my career to end by simply fading out of the picture!

Fade out The EndI mean, where’s the triumphant conclusion in this? Give me a Handel score rather than a subtle filmscript ending any day!

Beware the Guard Dog!

I write this cautiously.  My latest blogpost mentioned the significant, large piece of writing required to get a PhD.  I used appropriate keywords, obviously.  And what happens? I get new followers – yay!  But they’re the kind of websites that offer writing services for desperate students.  Let me state this here, loud and clear – if you commission people to write student assignments, then it is not worth your while following me!

And if you are a real live human associated with one of these enterprises as a consumer, please note:-

I will gladly speak to students of my own institution about how to structure or reference a submission.  I would cheerfully advise anyone that I knew personally, about such things.

BUT I WILL NEVER, EVER WRITE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO PASS MY WORK OFF AS THEIR OWN.  I worked unbelievably hard to get my qualifications, and I’m not available to help anyone else “work the system”.  I write for myself, under my own name.  That’s it.

If you’re a struggling student, please turn to your own institution.  Tell them you’re struggling.  Seek appropriate help.  They won’t charge you for it.  But don’t be tempted to pay someone else to write for you.  How could you take pride in a degree that was dishonestly gained?

A Decade as a Doctor (of Philosophy)

Well, a PhD in Music, to be accurate.  This morning, Facebook obligingly reminded me that it was exactly ten years since my thesis revisions were accepted, meaning that I would definitely be graduating in November 2009.

Bucks fizzWe couldn’t let the decade go unmarked!  After all, I’ve since published a book, been a postdoctoral research assistant on one grant-funded project, PI (Principal Investigator) on another, and added the PGCert in Learning and Teaching and a couple of fellowships to my post-nominals.  (I’d like to say my rateable value had also gone through the ceiling, but sadly, that’s not the case!  Part of me still works as a librarian, and I don’t have the freedom to go in search of promotion in another part of the country.)

But it still hasn’t been a bad decade considering it’s the decade in which many people are tempted to coast downhill to retirement!  Retirement isn’t even on my horizon yet – I’ve got several articles about to be published, a couple more ideas for research yet to be explored, and am about to start another grant application.2019-10-12 15.19.09

Anyway, I acknowledged the decade milestone on social media, and off we went to celebrate.  There will be fizz later – rather tame fizz, but fizz all the same!

The Proof of the Pudding …

Well, in this case, it’s a question of proof-reading, but we’ll let that pass.  This week I’ve been up to the ears in editing and proof-reading things I’ve written.

  • There was the article that needed revision, after it had been scrutinised by a peer-reviewer.
  • The article that evolved from my PGCert project of a couple of years ago.
  • The article that I wrote several years ago, only now appearing in an online journal.
  • And three book reviews.

Having cleared that little lot out of the way, I can think about what I need to write next! Since I have other, non-academic concerns also demanding my attention this Autumn, I can see I’m going to be busy!




Volunteering Expertise

Anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I’m honorary librarian for a charitable trust looking after an historical collection of Scottish music in Dundee.  The Wighton Collection belongs to the City of Dundee and resides in the public library – but the Friends of Wighton support and promote the collection.  In recent years we’ve also acquired the late Scottish accordionist Jimmy Shand’s music collection.  I have to be honest and admit that it really is the perfect charity for me to be involved with!  Not only do I have the Scottish music and librarianship expertise, but I also started my music librarianship career in a public library, and it feels right that I should be giving something back to the public sector, even if I’ve subsequently spent 31 years in an academic library.  And I totally agree with the aims of the charity in promoting classes in traditional Scottish musical instruments, even if I am not involved with that side of things.  (It’s in Dundee – I can only go over there on occasional Saturdays, even for the bibliographical work I do voluntarily.  Going across weekly wouldn’t be feasible, really.)

I was happy to come back from today’s visit – which included enjoying hearing a friend playing at one of the Cappuccino Concerts this morning – knowing that I’ve got a quantity of music listed and boxed up with instructions for a bindery to transform them from rather tired old scores into smart cloth-bound volumes.  They represent some of Jimmy Shand’s repertoire, and although people today can be rather dismissive about early to mid twentieth century “Scottish” songs, they are nonetheless a link in the chain of our history, and as such, worthy of preservation.  Strangely enough, some of the material I’ve handled today was by BIG Scottish music publishers (in their day), but on cheap paper, mass-produced, and despite that, rarely surviving in today’s libraries.  I like to think we’re doing a good thing in attempting to preserve them!

(Image is my own accordion, not Shand’s.  But he’s partially to blame for my recent acqusition in any case!)

Musicologist and Pedagogue trapped in a librarian's body. I'm qualified in music, librarianship and education. I began this blog when I was studying for my PGCert in Learning & Teaching in Higher Arts Education, and I'm now using it for CPD. I'm a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Midweek I am continuing the research I commenced as PI for an AHRC-funded research network @ClaimedStatHall – early legal deposit music. Off-duty I'm hard-wired into my sewing machine!