Blogs

New Music’s Quality Problem

quality control

It seems like the entire audience problem debate stubbornly looks outward, asking questions about marketing, “outreach,” and accessibility, all the while carefully avoiding some seriously necessary self-examination. Instead of an audience problem, I think new music has a quality problem.

Let’s Get Critical

Popcorn

For as much as it stirs the pot when a “serious music” review mentions the soloist’s hem line, it turns out things get even more heated when pop goes under the cold lens of the theoretical magnifying glass.

Cataloging the Fail: A Cathartic Scrapbook

Composer Fail Example

Lately I’ve been reflecting more and more on how I’ve dealt with rejections and supposed failure as a young composer. Because I now teach at a small liberal arts college, I constantly see and interact with a sea of undergrads. And because of their presence, I am reminded of how I dealt with what I perceived as devastating defeat upon experiencing rejection.

Goofing off, Perfected: Lessons from Fluxus

From Yoko Ono’s 1971 edition of Grapefruit

Fluxus and their Event Scores point to our human condition in a way that is wildly dynamic. The score is an invitation, a call to action, and first-hand study and performance of these scores would be healthy for any of us.

1, 2, 3… Action

WomenInJazzConcert

For the last article in my series on women in jazz this month, I would like to reflect on a 20th annual series of concerts that we just completed with an eight-piece all female group in celebration of Women’s History Month and to conclude with action steps towards an inclusive future.

Getting Out of the Box

Slatkin with EarShot Composers

I’ve spent much of March travelling around to meet with composers and other people involved in music in different parts of the country. It was a valuable reminder that there is no adequate substitute for direct personal contact with people, plus I learned about some really great music.

On the Purpose of Art in 700 Words or Less

street musicians

Moving to a new town has triggered something inside of me that makes me question everything I do. In trying to analyze the elements of music—Where does it take place? With whom? In what notation? With what instruments?—I’ve been pulled back to a central question: What is our music for?

But Can She Play?

Can She Play

The likelihood of a female teenager volunteering for an improvised solo in front of her peers that includes the option of failure is certainly smaller than her male band mate stepping out to show off his unique personality.

Broken Notions of Why Art Matters

broken tape measure

The tricky part of advocating for the arts is that the really important parts are harder to put numbers on. This shouldn’t be surprising; the awesomest parts of art itself are the parts that are hardest to quantify.

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