I went to school with Mr. David Pope at that above-mentioned large, comprehensive university (whose fine marching band was recently involved in the Macy’s parade, but I digress…). I can’t say that I ever knew him that well, other than his exquisite bad-assery on the tenor saxophone, but reading this article makes me want to hang out with him more.
Some of my general ed requirements were not so great (note to Psych 101 professors — please do not stand like a statue and drone for 75 minutes in front of 350 people, especially when the class commences at 8am), but man, I still talk about things I learned in my Genetics & Evolution class, my Comp Lit class (thanks for introducing me to Julio Cortázar!), my Language & Diversity in the US class, my German classes (not actually required, but so worth it), my Physics of Music class, hell, even my Intro to Environmental Science class, which I found mostly boring, but I did learn to fall in love with nuthatches and how they walk down trees. Useful? Sure, if it makes me happy every time I go back to New Hampshire and smile fondly at the nuthatches. Affection is always useful.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Another good one from Monsieur Gervais…
Behold the power of art. Behold the political power of art.
One Rare Salad asked, ‘so what should young women do instead’ in response to my commentary on jazz education for young women vis a vis saxgirl.
The most important education for young musicians is to belong to a peer based community of practice. I’d say this is especially important for young women, and if it is possible for young women to find or start such a group that also addresses gender in music, this is best. In this group there should be some generative creative practice, forums for sharing (on line and in person) and support for these activities. She makes something she likes, she shares it, mostly she receives accolades with some solicited criticism from trusted peers within the group, she starts again, and they all do this, the whole group. It is important for the social logic and aesthetic sensibility of the group to evolve outside the purview of parents and teachers, not entirely, it should be safe. Leadership dynamics will evolve within the group, that’s natural and good, but if the young people can avoid producing simulacra of every other depraved social hierarchy they are surrounded by, this is for the best.
Young people grounded in this type of support network have a better time engaging the content of formal education as the subject of their inquiry, rather than engaging the aperatus of education as it’s subject. The former is truthful engagement, the later false. Young people produce culture, their study of culture should support this activity which will happen almost automatically if not tampered with by a bunch of player-hating adults.
So back to jazz, a strong young woman with lots of peer based supports who encounters the macho often sexist antics of the male dominated zone of jazz education will be able to engage it/them as such, and explore the meaning of these experiences for her with her young colleagues.
Very cool. Thanks, too, for taking it as it is: a simple curious question. I was afraid my directness might be construed as hostile (you know how the internet is…), but as an educator and musician, I always like to know what people think about these things — plus, I just like to collect ideas for my own use. I was also curious about why this was important vis-a-vis jazz education, as opposed to other styles, but I feel what Mr. Hillmer says really is applicable to all styles and their pedagogies.
In my own background, I never really explored the gender issues. I think I cared more about simply finding people I got along with and who shared similar interests, regardless of gender. Strangely, classical music is still rather male-dominated, too. Or maybe I just get along with guys better?
I definitely agree that institutional education always needs to be supplemented with non-institutional education! I was really happy when some of my students formed a band outside of class after working together in class. Sometimes people get pissy about school isn’t teaching them everything they need to know. It can’t. You are always teaching yourself — I try to get that into my students’ heads. I think the institutional and non-institutional feed each other in a productive way that just one or the other cannot do on its own.
A really nice set of vignettes from the “rank and file” members of the classical music field about what their “root” is in classical music. I don’t know who remembers that from “But I’m a Cheerleader” — how every queer person has that defining moment in their life that makes them queer, which they so nicely summed up as their “root.” Everyone has a root. I have always felt queerer for being a classical music person than for being queer.
I would ask you not to eat me, but I see you have no mouth.
File under: Things we all should thinking about more often, regardless of how we self-identify. Also, points for most concise formulation of the issue:
it makes more sense to describe gender as a lens through which all those things are given social meaning. If that doesn’t make sense, imagine walking into a bar and seeing a person with a flannel shirt, a buzz cut, a beer, a swagger, and a picture of their pet Rottweiler in their wallet. You don’t know how that person identifies, but interpreting them through a “male” lens produces a different social meaning than interpreting them through a “female” lens. The clothing, tastes, and behavioral affect haven’t changed, but they come across differently, in the same way that the same painting comes across differently if you think of it as being painted in the 20th century than if you think of it as being painted in the 16th.
For those of you who, like me, use the internet primarily to read intellectually stimulating things: a lovely article about a lovely friend and musician, Maria Sonevytsky.