The independent scholar joins a tribe

Give a person a fish and they’ll eat for a day. Teach a person research and writing skills and they’ll make a living without learning how to fish. For the past two years I have described myself at conferences as an Independent Scholar, as well as a scholar-performer. The former identifier is what every PhD recipient gets called in the time between commencement and getting hired in their field. The latter description has been part of my real and virtual existence since I graduated from Washington University, St. Louis, with a Master’s degree in Historical Performance Practices. The fundamental research skills acquired during that time were invaluable. My mentors were making significant contributions in the realms of musicology and historical performance and their respective areas of expertise had a significant impact on me. During my hiatus from the pursuit of a PhD I never stopped using those skills.

Every doctoral student knows when they begin their program that they will be looking for employment in another city, state, or country when they finish. In the competitive world of academics, where everyone who applies for your job is likely as qualified as you, everyone feels fortunate to have their respective teaching position. If you are really lucky then your work situation will include colleagues who respect you and what you bring to the institution and you will be welcomed by the department administration and the community in general. After living and working in the Willamette Valley for seven years I now consider myself to be beyond lucky. I am taking my skill sets and expertise (as well as my wife and our two dogs) to a new city, state, and institution (Lubbock, TX;
Texas Tech University
). At this time, neither a single lecture has been given nor a single note played, yet my new colleagues, boss, department, university, and community has warmly embraced my wife and me. They have not yet met the sweet dogs but based on past experiences they will be equally welcome. A new job, city, USDA plant hardiness zone, and a switch from the quarter system to the semester system await us. I will be teaching two courses in the first term. Music History Review for Graduate Students (exactly what it sounds like), and . . .

Course Description: MUHL5334 (4300): Music in the Classic Period (Fall 2016)
Music in the Classic Period covers the period in music history from c.1730 to c.1810 and a vast repertoire that includes music of the Bach family, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Gluck, and their contemporaries. Within this repertoire we will examine the genres peculiar to the period, such as the symphony, opera, oratorio, and instrumental and vocal chamber music. We will identify those compositional elements that changed over time and those that remained constant across countries, within genres, and between generations of composers. By the end of the term you will be able to discuss the commonalities between composers such as Boccherini and Bach, or Beethoven and François Couperin, to give just two examples. The course work will include regular attendance at class lectures, a midterm exam, outside listening, in-class presentations, one substantial research paper, reading summaries, and a final exam.

The Chair of the Department of Musicology adds this to the course description, to help entice and recruit students to take a class from the new professor:
“In addition to his PhD in Musicology, Dr. Pineda is a professional performer of historical flutes and for many years has been the director of Baroque Northwest. With that in mind, I would like to add that this is a golden opportunity for performers and scholars alike to take a course on the Classic period with a professor who also specializes in the historical performance of baroque and classical era repertoire. For many symphony, chamber, and keyboard players, eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century music is a core area of your repertoire, and knowledge in this area will certainly be assumed out in the professional world (and on entrance and exit exams in just about every academic music program).”

The department attached this bio to the course announcement:
Dr. Kim Pineda received his PhD in Musicology and Historical Performance Practices from the University of Oregon, the Master of Music from Washington University, St. Louis, and the Bachelor of Music from California State University Northridge, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology at Texas Tech University. He has presented his research at meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the Society for Eighteenth-century Music, the Western Society for 18th-century Studies, and the Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference, as well as at chapter meetings of the AMS-Southwest, the Society for Ethnomusicology Northwest, and the MLA-Pacific Northwest. He has taught at the University of Oregon, Seattle Pacific University, North Seattle Community College, and Indiana University,

Research and performance practice interests:
• Music, race, gender, and empire in the eighteenth century;
• French and Spanish colonial and mission music in the Americas;
• rhetoric and music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries;
• Improvisation traditions from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries;
• New music for historical instruments.

Recent publications include:
“Baroque Sister Act: Sacred Parodies in the Educational Outreach of the Ursuline Nuns in Eighteenth-century New Orleans.” Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Conference, Society for Eighteenth-Century Music (forthcoming);
“Eighteenth-century real time composition: A guide for the modern flutist.” The Flutist Quarterly 40, no. 3 (Spring 2015).

As a performer Dr. Pineda has recorded on the Focus, Centaur, and Origin Classical labels, has performed as a flutist and conductor across the US, Canada, and on National Public Radio, and has given workshops and masterclasses around the country. For more information please visit

To say that I am excited is an understatement. I do not remember a time in my life when I have been so enthusiastically welcomed to any job. Pressure to succeed? No, not at all; with this much support how can I do anything but thrive? I cannot wait to get started.


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