No Merits, No Skills? No Problem!

1411451243083_wps_28_Arnold_Schwarzenegger_andSo, you have decided to become a neurosurgeon? What an excellent choice, but before you can hope to get your hands on the subject matter, there are many, many years of education and training in front of you. Ideally, your pre-medical undergraduate education will include a year of chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and advanced math and statistics. Assuming that you are able to successfully complete these prerequisites, it’s time to enroll in an accredited medical school. Typically, in your first year you’ll learn about normal structure and function so body tissues, including biochemistry, cell biology, medical genetics, gross anatomy, structure and function of human organs, neuroscience and immunology. Year two is commonly concerned with abnormal structures and function, including infectious diseases, pharmacology, pathology, clinical diagnoses and therapeutics. Finally in your third and fourth years, you will hone your clinical skills, including a generalist core consisting of internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and surgery, alongside neurology, psychiatry, anesthesia, dermatology, orthopedics, urology, audiology, ophthalmology, and emergency room and intensive care. Toward the end of medical school, you will need to apply for residency training at an academic medical center to receive your specialist instruction and experience.

If this seems a bit daunting, you can always change your mind and become a conductor!
Bolero Trombone Disaster

Apparently, the most recent industry trend towards hiring people for important conducting positions is to engage individuals who have never conducted anything! Simon Standin, the general manager of the Southwest Sinfonia suggests, “We’ve found that hiring washed up soloists is cost effective media savvy and politically expedient. A washed up soloist probably recognizes his or her earnings are trending downwards, which gives us incredible leverage in contract negotiations. We are able to cash in on what’s left of their fading reputation as a performer while they can buy time to adapt to their new income level. The fact that they’ve never conducted before is also extremely helpful in dealing with the musicians, as they have no track record to criticise.” Standin’s explanation is part of his outraged response to the Berlin Philharmonic hiring conductor Kirill Petrenko, who has apparently been engaged solely on the merits of being a very good conductor. “Frankly, this seems like a wildly naïve decision on the part of the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic,” said Standin, “as it calls into question the entire viability of player-run orchestras, as the musicians seem to lack the business acumen needed to understand the importance of a conductor’s number of Twitter followers.” Maybe Standin can join forces with Dr. Peter Petersnack, the first American brain surgeon with over 100,000 likes on Facebook! Faced with a highly invasive life-saving medical procedure, it’s the first place I would look for guidance!

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