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This guy SUCKS SO BAD. Class and himself ruined my life. I used to love music but now I hate it. I hate it so much because of David Lefkowitz. Thank you Professor. Thank you for ruining my love for music. I hate this class. Don’t take it EVER don’t even recommend it.
It’s been more than 15 years since I attended Professor David Lefkowitz’s theory and composition classes. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to compose, conduct, play and study in a variety professional situations. Not once I have I employed or referenced the materials, techniques or theories offered by Professor Lefkowitz.
From his misuse and overuse of Occam's razor to his reliance on his own compositions for analysis ( he could always justify his “correct” answer), Professor Lefkowitz was an academic in search of teaching model. His classroom did not engender a sense of discovery, a delight in the acquisition of new skills or a professional collaborative approach. He failed in the Socratic method, group-whole, part-whole, whole-part, cultural/relational, etc. I wonder to this day if he ever took any teaching or pedagogy classes.
In the two years I was in his classes, I witnessed rife favoritism, a high level of arrogance and a patriarchal, patrician manner that would have not been out of place in a public British boy’s school, circa 1937. Of all the professors I encountered at UCLA, Professor Lefkowitz was could most benefit from a two week intensive in critical listening skills.
Other theory professors at the time brought in parrots and taught ”life lessons,” espoused Madame Blavatsky in class, extolled and cried –yes, cried- at their own musical works ( a level of Baby Boomer narcissism I have yet to encounter since) and slept with undergraduates.
I stuck with Professor Lefkowitz, as he seemed to be the only theory teacher, at the time, that was focused on teaching. He held regular office hours, provided feedback - while sucking all the air out of that small, small office- and attended all of his classes. He seemed dedicated and serious. Professor Lefkowitz, however, did not have a printed nor organized text, a comprehensive skills plan nor a way to address the divergent goals of his students, 99% of whom would never be college instructors. Frequently, his exams would be based on his own novel, idiosyncratic theoretical approaches rather than the ones he taught in class. I’ve never encountered such a disconnect in subject exposition and examination, before or since. Professor Lefkowitz seemed more in search of an audience he could control and mold than a group of future musicians he could facilitate growth in.
Of all the courses I completed at UCLA, Professor Lefkowitz’s theory and composition classes remain the ones I regret taking the most.