Viewpoint

The Shame Of Poverty And Investing In The Future

Philadelphia Skyline, by Flodigrip on Flickr

It is my hope that no one—especially young musicians—should ever face the shame and the self-questioning that poverty could force on them. Music, and more importantly access to music and music education, is vital to all communities.

The Entertainer

OpKrac Video Component

I believe that artists, more so than scientists or the religious, carry the seeds of miracle works inside them. And I believe we are seriously underperforming.

Audience Cultivation In American New Music

Seated audience

The milieu of new music has splintered into factions, each with its own loyal but marginal audience. All of these groups believe that they have meaningful formulas for creating provocative work, but what good is that work if no one outside the communities where it is generated has access to it?

Can We Move Past Post-Race, Already?

Open door

If you follow the American Composers Orchestra and you stay on top of your composer opportunities, you might have noticed ACO’s most recent Earshot post on Facebook: readings for emerging African-American composers. I was surprised to see some comments that weren’t so positive–comments that reflect some dangerous thinking.

Speaking of Which: Musical Expression in a Foreign Language

Jumbled words

Three years ago, I began a job teaching English as a second language (ESL) at the Boston Conservatory. There were no pre-existing texts for teaching second-language learners to use English to write and speak effectively and naturally about music, so I made my own. Despite success in many aspects of this endeavor, a glaring problem remains: my students have tremendous difficulty with the seemingly simple task of describing a piece of music.

Notes From the Other Side of the Desk

Office doorway

There is a deep, reverberating echo of history in composer higher education, and a palpable unspoken dialogue between current and past students, faculty, and guest artists. Today I continue to look for new ways to engage with our students, all the while drawing upon the words and wisdom of those who laid the foundation for my own pedagogy.

Judged By Its Cover

Batman: comic sans

An album of music begins at track one, but you start setting the scene long before this. Most musicians have some sort of a plan in mind for their next album. That plan should already include the cover. In this article, I’ll tell you why it matters and how to avoid screwing it up.

I’m a Trans Composer. What the Hell Does That Mean?

In the last few months, there have been a number of highly circulated articles about women and contemporary classical music. Reading all these articles got me thinking about the role that gender plays in my own musical life. So here are some thoughts on what it’s like to be a composer on the trans-female spectrum in the early 21st century.

Acknowledging the Rhino: Talking Art In a Capitalist World

With my antennae more or less permanently oriented toward music and the arts, the defining mood of this year’s commencement season has been realism. This is a year in which, it seems, society is determined not to let students of the arts out into the world without making sure they’re painfully aware of what awaits them.

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