I’ve been reading Steve Reich’s Writings on Music on and off over the last couple of weeks, which for those who haven’t read it consists of program notes and a few articles written by him from 1965-2000. Anyway, predictably enough in the earlier bits there are a bunch of interesting ideas and the older he gets the more set in his ways he becomes and it starts to dull out a little, and he starts to write a few cranky middle aged man things. This includes such things as re-phrasing the age old cliché “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” which when I read it I found quite disappointing. It’s a shame that someone of his calibre would perpetuate such an idea, even if sub-textually it seems to have more to do with his personal discomfort with teaching.
So, I have a new version of the old adage, may it catch on:
Those who can, do
Those can teach, teach
Those who can’t teach bad mouth teachers
Dedicated to the music teachers of the world and their insecure detractors.