time to change the way we view music and the arts

Let’s chat, shall we?

I‘ve decided to start up yet another blog, “rant place,” well for my thoughts, feedback wall, whatever you would prefer to call this minuscule star in the vastness that is internet-space. Some of my other writings have had specified purposes (see older London blog,) and some have not, (general stuff about my life. I haven’t released my memoirs yet…) I’m aspiring for this time around to have a nice balance between the former and the latter. Let me explain. There is a bit of context here.

Graduate school was the most gratifying experience I had with the American education system to date. Sure, that doesn’t mean things were a cakewalk but I was never so happy to be pushed to my limits and slapped on the wrist for knowing I could reach higher beyond the supposed ceiling I had set for myself. School is like a second home for me. Then again, you knew that if you read my short bio to the right.

Prior to grad school, it’s not as if I had no appreciation for what was taught to me. Music and the arts are both what define a great deal of my interest and comfort zone and drive. Where the juxtaposition comes in is keeping my “college self” as it were, and my “graduate self” at peace with one another. I’ve been struggling with this for some time now. It’s a topic of discussion numerous people have tossed around with me and I have yet to come up with a resolution to stop the constant friction I feel from my two passions constantly clashing and repelling one another.

See, in college I had gotten myself into a foray with all things music business related; or as the College of Saint Rose likes to call it, “Music Industry” related. The school had its own cause for friction with its music education majors and its music industry majors sometimes coming to professional blows over pros and cons of each others’ given career paths. Sometimes I stop to think that maybe this is where my whole inner conflict was conceived. Not to digress too much, but midway through undergrad I had switched from music education to music industry. So you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Words got thrown around often, about the “kind of people” the “music industry kids” were. The label that was their major sometimes defined

-how they dressed
-devotion to one’s studies (or lack thereof)
-tendency to be punctual (or not to be)
-non-class related activities …I’m being vague on purpose here. Let’s just say you were associated with certain illicit behaviors
-and ultimately, the type of “lesser” career path you were to be trapped on, post graduation as opposed to their teaching destined counterparts.

These molds that the industry kids were so easily thrown into didn’t usually cause me a lot of direct problems. It’s not as if I were insulted daily, so eventually I transitioned and that was that. However, I won’t forget the initial “traitor feeling” that was bestowed upon me when “the ed kids” found out I was switching. Like I said, it didn’t crush me, but it certainly made me think about how these two groups of students perceive one another.

Fast forward to grad school year 1. I was finding my place in the class, getting used to the demands…all very typical things of any grad student. What wasn’t typical was my background. An undergrad in all things commercial music? Ever studied arts administration before? Nope. Ever worked for a non-profit before? Well yes, but this 4 month internship was my first time. I had chosen to get an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration because I wanted to complement the knowledge of commercial music I already had; not just pile more of the same on top.

The problem is, rather than being two perfectly fitting puzzle pieces like I imagined them, my two degrees, as it were, act much more like an ever teetering scale. Granted, I’m well aware that I’ve only very recently finished my M.A. and need to give myself time and space to breathe and settle all the thoughts that have been crammed into my head over the last two years. Let it all mature a bit. Still, with classes being over and the job world functioning differently from a lecture based world, I found myself at a loss for how to satiate this desire to keep all of my academic self alive. Sounds dramatic I know, but it’s the truth.

Case and Point
I’m a music nerd like you wouldn’t believe. My friends call me the human jukebox because of the abyss of track and album information I feel the need to spill out whenever I hear music.

I dissect the sound of an artist or band whenever I listen to new music. *cough* “why auto-tune, why???!” *cough*

I get angry/happy/sad/insert emotion here about lineup changes or sound changes to well established bands

I believe so strongly in still buying physical CDs because I know the time and tears and blood and sweat that has to go into every aspect of making one: from the cover art to that perfectly snapping snare hit on that second song. Discs themselves might only cost a nickel but the disc is loaded with the labor and creativity of so many people and all their points of view.

The idea of having to run out and load your veins with either sugar or salty diner fries after an awesome concert where girls screamed exceedingly loud behind you the entire time makes me feel cool.

I live in casual shoes and jeans even though I’m out of college.

Reading album reviews and articles on studio gear and record labels are how I pass a lot of time.

At the Same Time:
I think opera is cool (That should make some of you turn your heads already I’m sure)

Saying you want to talk about the change in The NY Philharmonic’s season programming won’t make me want to fall asleep

ArtsJournal, the NY Times and NPR are three of my most frequented media sources

I find gossip or scandal with Boards of Directors/Arts Management more exciting than hearing about which celebrity is sleeping with which.

It’s amusing to hear about a company’s unorthodox organizational chart/budget projection/marketing scheme

Suggested donation at a museum really means “I’m going to pay you whatever the amount is because I know where this money is going and you deserve it.”

I contemplate audience demographics for almost everything

And I could go on and on. The bottom line of this whole thing, is to show you my oil and water. Sometimes it feels like I’m two people and I have to jump back and forth when the situations around me change. While I understand why that’s necessary depending on the company you’re with, I’ve yet to find someone who has to flip back and forth as much as I do. Not to play martyr or anything like that. I just realize that I’m not your average arts kid and I’m hoping this blog will be a place I can resonate both my voices –the informal, pop-culture addicted, comfort obsessed one and the methodical, technical, nerdy, composed one. I know there’s overlap between the two, thank goodness, and that’s where I’m also hoping that other people might shout back, having some overlap of their own to help balance my scales.

I swear I didn’t intend for this to start so long but it’s kind of like you have to get caught up to speed on the soap opera of my mind to get why I’m ranting now. It’ll get more fluidity I promise.

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS