The reason for the existence of this scenario—going to school for a decade and then looking for a college job—the reason it exists in the first place—has to do with the simple rules of supply and demand. There are many, many very fine pianists in the U.S., a number that has been increasing every single year. And there are only so many colleges and universities out there.

I duly did what I had to do—doctoral work—but panic set in as I was nearing the end of it. I was a new father, I had responsibilities. I was doing my DMA in Cincinnati, and one day, I happened to see an index card job listing for “Sinclair Community College” up in Dayton. Long story short, I applied for the position, auditioned, and got that job. It was going to be a position that would tide Tiraje and I (and little Jason) over for a year or two. Thus far, I have worked there, chairing the music department and doing all things piano-related, fulltime and now part-time, for 38 years.

Why I stayed put in Dayton is another fascinating story–those who know me will appreciate my sense of humor, sarcasm-laced with a touch of self-deprecation–but for the moment, I’m just painting a picture of the overwhelming relief I had at being gainfully employed, in a collegiate setting. I had done it! From my perspective, I had beaten the odds, the ball in the roulette wheel had safely landed on “college job.”


So, I was still basking in the newness and comfort of being employed, in my second year of teaching, when the movie Tootsie came out. Those of you who are old enough will remember Tootsie—the Dustin Hoffman movie about an unemployable actor who adopts the identity of a woman just to get work. The movie was super successful, winning ten Academy Awards.

I saw no parallels to the movie plot and my own life—there are none—but I REALLY liked a song from the movie—“It Might Be You” sung by Stephen Bishop. The song itself was nominated for an Academy Award. There was something so hopeful about the lyrics, so archetypical and basic for a love song, and I found (still find, of course) the music very attractive. Like quite a number of James Bond movie themes, I actually felt the song was light years better than the movie itself. (Sorry, Tootsie fans.)

Its success could not have been too surprising, though. The music was written by famed movie-score composer Dave Grusin (The Graduate, Divorce American Style, On Golden Pond, Three Days of the Condor) with lyrics by the uber-lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman (The Way We Were, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life). Stephen Bishop, a singer from San Diego, was just beginning to get the recognition he would ultimately earn with songs like “On and On” and “Save It For A Rainy Day.” Bishop’s career path was paved by Art Garfunkel, who chose two Stephen Bishop demos to record and perform. Garfunkel secured Bishop’s first recording contract.

Bishop’s golden voice is easy on the ears. You don’t have to be of any certain age to appreciate him or this well-written song.

Pics: Bishop in performance, Hoffman as “Tootsie.”