Blogs

Unsung Heroes

Kaytee Esser's painting "Kansas City Jazz"

There were plenty of capable and talented ladies involved with jazz from the beginnings of jazz history, but social expectations for the household matriarch did not include frequenting dance halls at night and touring around the country for weeks in a bus full of men. For some brave women, the attraction to this exciting new music was stronger than social barriers.

Towards a More Visceral Living

John Cage

I often feel that without a detailed study of our music we become lost but, even worse, with only a detailed study of our music we become boring. Embracing a more complicated visceral living through firsthand experiences and outside fields can lead us to unexpected ends. I hope we use our music to examine these living ideas, adding to our cultural knowledge along the way.

Skirts or Pants? How About Both

Skirt by Wanda Ewing

As women, by and large, we have been taught to view ourselves as made up of independent spheres, separating our profession from our gender, and from our craft. One challenge is to allow and encourage our various roles to operate and shape us in tandem, rather than in silos.

Three Strikes Against Success

Monika Herzig

In 1988, I arrived in the US ready to start a career as a jazz musician. So my boyfriend (now husband for over 20 years) Peter Kienle and I formed a fusion group with a bassist and drummer from the University of Alabama where I was completing a master’s degree. But one day during rehearsals, I noticed that the bassist didn’t address his questions about my charts to me, but rather to Peter.

Music for Difficult Days

Plot Twist

Turning to music for comfort and solace is not a subject that is talked about much—not out loud, at any rate—in our community, even though it is a perfectly natural inclination, and something that many of us engage in regularly.

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 2

Igor Stravinsky & Nadia Boulanger (1937)

We still have a long way to go in terms of shifting the model of what a composition teacher can provide. First, we must address the master/apprentice mentality. I propose we to do this by continuing to allow more inquisitive learning to take place alongside modeling. Secondly, we desperately need to openly and pragmatically identify the inherent challenges of gender in composition.

Putting Artists in the Limelight

New Music USA(waveform)

New Music USA has just announced the awardees of our inaugural round of project grants. All awarded project pages, complete with artist profiles, work samples, project information, dates, and photos have been published on newmusicusa.org. This means that the world at large can explore, listen to, watch, and experience the diverse array of these awardees’ works on our website.

Great Expectations: The Composer’s Progress

compass

There are a number of composers who don’t conform to the traditional model, and the truth is that there really is no typical career trajectory for a composer. The only way to navigate a career as a composer, I have found, is to be prepared for anything.

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 1

Mirar graph

Teaching composition requires a balance between the student and the teacher; between the micro and the macro. The strategy includes the teacher’s understanding of the creative process, the student’s reflection on that process, and a design of individually tailored tasks for the student—a set of activities mutually agreed upon. Constant shifting between the big picture and the small steps is critical.

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