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015//More things to more people

Hiatus, over! Well, it was never officially taken, but that’s how life goes. After a fairly uneventful end of summer, the semester steams ahead. Projects and deadlines are looming ahead and I’m trying to stay on top of things and get ’em done. (I’m tragically trying to recreate the post I had half way finished, but didn’t save, since there’s no option in the “quick” post module…grrrr.)

Two weeks ago, I went to a really interesting discussion at Harvard. The panel was: Joseph Horowitz, Mark Volpe, Jeremy Eichler,  and Lloyd Schwartz. Respectively, they are a historian, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and two music critics. The alarmist title to the discussion was <<Classical Music in Crisis.>> Don’t worry, the panelists and hosts also denounced it as such. The biggest point that all the panelists could agree upon was that classical music is NOT for the privileged or hyper educated crowd—it needs to be, as Eichler stated, “more things to more people.” Bingo! However, the steps to make it such are somewhat nebulous. Horowitz is a promoter of combining performances and education simultaneously. He has led very successful and engaging programs that fuse literature and visual art with music. His big push is for an interdisciplinary approach of spreading classical music around. Schwartz, one of the music critics, is also for education, but doesn’t want “learning thrown at him.” An interesting take on the situation for sure…how much do we need to be extolling the virtues of classical music? It should be self evident, but it’s not, in many cases. I’m don’t think it’s from lack of interest, but from lack of exposure and opportunities. But creating those opportunities isn’t easy either…

Basically, it boils down to how music affects people, how it changes people, how it’s all about relationships. Horowitz said the orchestra’s circle needs to expand—how to do it it is the big question. This presents a lot of food for thought. One interesting and interdisciplinary (or inter-genre) approach is an album of remixed Philip Glass compositions. More information can be found here (http://philipglassrework.com/). I really liked the two sample tracks, so much that I even splurged and bought the special “glass” LP! This is more of a commercial/popular approach to spreading classical music, but it’s a start. I don’t think there’s one solid answer: solutions will be fluid, personal and localized. Suggest a favorite symphony to someone who’s never explored classical music, or drag (er, invite) friends to an afternoon concert. A lot of universities and conservatories give free/donation based/very reasonably priced recitals and concerts. Take advantage of what your city/local schools/youth orchestras are offering—it’ll always be more than expected!

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006/Overdue Review

Gasp! Shock! THE TERROR! I’m grossly overdue in discussing the MLA conference I attended in Dallas a few weeks ago. But, like most things, better late than never!


February 19, 2012

I’m on the plane back from the MLA (that’s the Music Library Association) annual conference in Dallas (yeehaw!). My first professional conference and my first time in Dallas! I really had no idea what to expect: I took a look at the sessions and talks to see what appealed to me, as well as signed up to receive a mentor and took advantage of the resume/cover letter advisory service. The first event to go to was the first-time attendees’ dinner, where some 40 first-time attendees got a chance to be introduced to the chairs, committees and general MLA-workings (as well as eat some delicious pasta, which I was very thankful for after not eating since 7AM that day!). We also introduced ourselves to each other and got a chance to mingle a bit. After dinner, there was the opening reception in the exhibitor’s hall. It was a little overwhelming: though I had just met 40 people in the same situation as myself, I felt like I didn’t know anyone there. Throughout the whole conference, I made an effort to step out of my somewhat shy shell and really meet as many people as possible. Longstanding MLA members are very friendly though; more than once when I was awkwardly standing alone, they just came up, introduced themselves and asked questions about me!

Throughout the conference, I met a lot of interesting people, almost all who had a job that I would love to have one day! There were music librarians from Library of Congress, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museums as well as university/college librarians that have a music or arts library. There were informative plenary sessions, presentations and round-table meetings. One thing that really struck me was the complexity of MLA as an organization—it has a constitution, a board of chairs, as well as many committees and subcommittees. This was my first time dealing with an institution like this that wasn’t a school or university I was attending/working for.

I loved meeting fellow library science students who had a passion for music and wanted to be music librarians – just like me! Simmons doesn’t have a music librarianship specialization and I’ve only met a couple of other students who are interested in music librarianship. Now I feel part of a larger community that has similar interests and a place to seek advice. A lot of the library students I met had already earned their master’s in musicology or ethnomusicology, which is something I’m considering after graduating from Simmons (more school?! Am I nuts?!) so it was good to hear what their experience was. And, now I have MLA friends I can look forward to catching up with at the next conference!

I attended some really interesting sessions/presentations and am going to be posting more on them soon! Simmons has spring break next week, so that will give me time to sift through my notes and recall the glory of MLA.


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Now I just need to “brush up” (aka re-learn) my Spanish…


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