Friday, July 15, 2011

PhD and Bass Guitar

So I realize that nobody in the family ever knows what I'm up to.  For example - how many times has mom spread rumors about me being: a) engaged? b) graduated? c) employed? d) enlisted? e) in shape?

In light of the lack of information known about me (not that being anonymous really bothers me), I figure I'll update a few big decisions I'm making as of late...

Yes.  More school.  Yes.  Still in Logan.  No.  Not Mechanical Engineering.  I'm currently standing with one foot in Mechanical Engineering while I finish my MS and one foot in Engineering and Technology Education while I begin my PhD.

This past couple of months has been one filled with pondering and self discovery.  I like teaching.  I don't particularly like engineering, and the common motivators to stay in engineering - money, prestige, complete absence of social normality - don't affect me enough to want to stay there.

My original plan was to work in industry for a while, then "semi-retire" to teach.  By "semi-retire", I meant to leave industry after approximate 15 years, while I still have some spring in my step.  As for the teaching, I intended to aim for a community college, or some type of non-researching school.  In a nutshell - my plan to teach has simply been bumped up to now.

I'm going to teach a course this Fall semester called Numerical Methods I.  It's a programming course for sophomores.  I just met with my department head to finalize it.  Teaching this semester will help fortify whether or not I can deal with a class full of zit-infested aspiring engineers.  I get the feeling that it will be really fun.

Getting a PhD in Engineering Education means that I can teach at a community college still, or that I'll be able to teach/research at a larger university with an engineering program.  Many of the larger schools are discovering that their first two years' worth of engineering can be better taught by engineering educators, which in turn frees up their researching engineers for those upper-division courses they prefer to teach.  It's sort of a two-birds-with-one-stone type of thing.

Bass Guitar
I'm learning to play the bass guitar so I can help out my friend Bryce with his band Three Weeks.  They've been a local band in Logan area for a number of years with several members coming and going through their history.  Bryce has built up his band equipment over the years, and will be moving into a nicer recording studio soon.  He writes all of his own music.  He was in my ward before he got married, and after I musically threw him to the wolves (I volunteered us to play for a Christmas party), he and I started playing small local shows together.

For the smaller stuff, I've been accompanying him with my acoustic/electric guitar and singing backup vocals.  But as Leah still has my guitar (I'm predicting it to be covered in a musty reek upon return), I've been mooching instruments from others in Logan.  That mooching, along with the tonal needs of Three Weeks, has caused me to jump from guitar to bass.

Bass theory is an interesting idea.  It's equally associated with the drums and the guitar, because it needs to drive the rhythm and steer chord changes.  Sting is actually a great guy to study when learning bass.  Particularly when he played with The Police.

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