Kate Amrine

Five Things to Keep in Mind When You are Stressed and Busy

Here’s another repost from Brass Chicks –  a timely post for the end of the semester and busy holiday season.

Hi fellow brass chicks! We didn’t forget it is Friday and hope you didn’t either! It is such a busy time of year with the holidays, school, and gigs and we certainly know things can get a little crazy. Hopefully this post will help 🙂

1. Perspective. 

This one may seem obvious but it is always important to keep in mind that many of the stressful things that we are worrying about may often be “first world problems” that not everyone has the pleasure of experiencing. For example, after a busy day of teaching and  playing, I walked into a cafe and ordered a small salad. The woman behind the counter yawned and apologized and I said, “Oh don’t worry, I am tired too.” But then she asked if I get to sit down at my job, because she was tired after standing all day – and as a musician, most of the time we are sitting so I definitely didn’t have anything to say back.

2. Be Grateful

This is very similar to keeping your perspective in mind when in the face of “first world problems” but more related to simply appreciating everything that you have. Do you have food, a place to live, family, friends, and something you are passionate about? That is a lot more than some people and certainly something to be grateful for.

3. Appreciate where you are and what you have done

Especially in stressful times, it can be easy to lose track of your own personal accomplishments and truly appreciate and recognize everything that you have done. We are getting increasingly closer to the end of 2017 and I’m sure there are some amazing things that have happened that you can be proud of. Make a list and look at it whenever you need an extra boost! This is even more helpful for times when you feel like you are treading water and not moving forward in ways that you may like.

4. Look forward to something in the future.

Many of my students just finished midterms and are now preparing for finals. Some of them have holiday concerts. I personally have many gigs coming up – many of which all seem to be on top of each other and can make maintaining a healthy sleep schedule difficult. One of my mentors recently told me to keep this in mind recently and it is super helpful as a motivating goal to get through a long day or a long rehearsal. And it can be anything from getting to sleep in tomorrow (yeah!), having ice cream at home after the gig, or planning a vacation next year. Always treat yo self and give yourself something to look forward to!

5. Self Care

It seems like we talk about this a lot here on the Brass Chicks but it is super important! Beyond the usual eating well and taking care of your body and mind, when you have a free moment – evaluate your schedule. Do you really need to take on that extra opportunity? Do you really have time to do that other project? Is your time better spent getting a head start on your work or going out with friends? Sometimes the answer might not what you think but make sure to always pay attention to what your body and mind need!

My debut album “As I Am”

I just made an album. I am so excited to share it with you!

—this album features new music for trumpet by women composers—-

 

Sound interesting? You can read a formal description and buy the album HERE.

Would love to hear what you think!

 


A little over a year ago, in August 2016, I wanted to pick some rep for a recital and found a couple great pieces by women composers. I remembered hearing from a teacher at a summer festival about his CD prep (thanks Paul!!) and thought to myself…. hey why don’t I make a CD this year! I didn’t know too much about the process of making a CD and wow I have certainly learned a lot this year. (Will write a post on that later so stay tuned!)

 

 

 

 

So the first thing I did – was I picked the music!  My friend Jinhee Han was already writing a solo for me so I knew that would go on there. I asked my friend Ariel Marx to write a piece. My friend Ledah Finck also wrote a piece for me and flutist Louna Dekker-Vargas which also appears on their album — which you can check out here. My new friend Nicole Piunno and I met through instagram, I met Jessica Rudman after working on her piece and then performing at the Women Composer’s Festival. I was drawn to Alex Gardner‘s piece after reading about the unique instrumentation for trumpet, harp, and electronics and later learned we knew many of the same people in Baltimore through my time at Peabody. Lastly, a former teacher suggested I check out Jennifer Higdon‘s piece for trumpet and piano and I was drawn to it because it is also a piece for voice so the words are beautiful. So for about a year I had those 7 pieces that I was excited about and the title As I Am in the back of my head for the album.

 

But I felt something was missing.

 

So In September I decided to write myself a piece for the album for solo flugelhorn, entitled “As I Am.” To me, this piece has a sweet sort of longing, almost pleading, for someone to “take me as I am.” The whole album in a way is this same sort of gesture and reaction – although in a more positive way. Recordings are always snapshots in time and this is a great representation of me as an artist and composer – after finishing school and entering full time into the freelance life.

I’ve already started planning my next album but for now, it feels so great to say hello world! this is me at 25 years old, done with school, and living the dream in NYC

 

As I Am.

 

 

Five Resources for Audition Season

Here’s another repost from Brass Chicks from my post on September 1st. We are approaching the beginning of the semester and the beginning of the freelancing season! I hope you have all had a great summer and are now gearing up for something exciting this year. Maybe that might include an audition! Here are five resources that might be helpful to you this year and beyond throughout your audition path – whether it is a school placement audition or your first orchestral audition.

 

1. Bulletproof MusicianI know this website has been mentioned before on Brass Chicks but Noa Kageyama does a great job at outlining many helpful tips related to performance anxiety, music, and mindset. This article includes tips for future auditions related to your preparation beforehand.

2. Audition Hacker – This is a great website that addresses many aspects of audition preparation – from practicing tips to concerns about what happens during the audition. Check out the articles here.

3. Crushing Classical Podcast featuring Denise Tryon – Denise Tryon (former Fourth Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra) is a master of the low horn and orchestra auditions. This interview describes her audition path and includes several helpful tips! Denise Tryon also runs an audition workshop to help students prepare with mock auditions, masterclasses, lectures and more. Check that out also!

4. Angela Beeching’s blog. Angela’s blog is so incredibly helpful on a wide range of topics including performing, speaking, marketing, and networking. Since the earlier points in this post are more about the physical aspects of playing and how/what to prepare, I knew a post on how to boost productivity would be super helpful to make sure we all stay on track in our preparation.

5. Find out what it’s like on the other side of the table — the panel! If you know someone in the organization, you might be able to find out an extra tip or two about what they could be looking for. Set up a mock audition with friends and alternate who is on the panel taking notes. You will learn SO much from being on the other side of it. Here’s a very interesting interview featuring Maxine Kwok-Adams – 1st violinist (I know, I know…this is Brass Chicks) in the London Symphony Orchestra. This interview with Maxine describes what it is like from her point of view on the panel – everything from what they may be looking for, common mistakes, and other tips.

Happy practicing and audition preparation 🙂 Got any other good audition tips? Reach out to us on our Facebook page and let us know. We would love to hear from you!

Five Tips for a Productive Practice Session

This is another repost from Brass Chicks from August 4th. I hope to write more helpful posts like these. Let me know if you like it!

 

Here are my five tips for a productive practice session! And the best part? These are all things you can do away from your instrument 🙂 I have done my fair share of traveling, touring, and various things where getting physical time on the instrument can be difficult. Maybe you are tired from a string of gigs or a summer festival but know you still have material you need to work on. Some of these things you can do instead of a practice session or can take place before and during a session. See what works for YOU! So here we go:

Read More

Brass Chicks: Five Reasons Why I am happy to create and be a part of this community

Here is a post I originally wrote back on July 21st for my blog Brass Chicks. Brass Chicks is a blog celebrating the women’s brass community through interviews, news, and providing a space for fellow Brass Chicks to their their stories. We started a series called Five Things Friday for the blog so I am reposting some of my Five Things posts here.


 

I am so excited to create the Brass Chicks community and have the opportunity to showcase incredible stories and musicians. In addition to guest posts and interviews, there will be a variety of other posts – some themed and some not.

Announcing our new series called Five Things Friday!

This new series of posts will allow for many other guests to contribute and highlight their own individual perspectives. The list format is also a little different than our other posts so it may be easier to catch up with Brass Chicks related news on the go!

For this first Five Things Friday post – I wanted to share 5 reasons that I am happy to be involved in the Brass Chicks community and why this project is so important.

1. Awareness

I am currently on tour with an orchestra in Japan and on our flight the other trumpet player and I realized one of our flight attendants just started learning trumpet in Japan. We invited her to our concert and she said she would try to attend. Here is a picture we took together:

IMG_6128She told us that her teacher in Japan told her that due to her body structure and gender that lip slurs and other techniques would be very challenging for her. This was unbelievably shocking to hear for many reasons and we were quick to inform her that this wasn’t accurate information. She was surprised to learn that there are so many female brass players who are doing incredible things and hopefully this gave her a different perspective moving forward. This blog is for her and anyone else who may be in a situation where exposure to these powerful perspectives from women in the brass community can be extremely transformative.

2. Network

Even though I live in NYC (the center of the universe 😃) I realize that there are many other perspectives and stories worth sharing from all parts of the world. We can learn so much from everyone and I hope that Brass Chicks can be helpful in facilitating this process. So far Brass Chicks has been viewed in over 10 countries which is unbelievably exciting!

3. Inspiration

When I was younger, I didn’t realize how many inspiring women brass players were out in the world doing incredible things. I didn’t realize how many different ways there were to make a living as a musician. I hope that Brass Chicks can provide some inspiration to younger musicians – at a time when it can be most valuable.

4. News

There are a few other organizations that are great for brass related news – and our monthly theme is after all, the International Women’s Brass Conference, so we are very thankful for this organization and others. We hope that we can provide a space for updates and announcements in the women’s brass community – everything from upcoming CD releases to performances and more. If you have news to share – please reach out to us! We will post a monthly news update and we would love to feature your project.

5. Passion

I love bringing people together – especially those with like-minded interests. It is an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of Brass Chicks and create content to benefit the women’s brass community. I feel so lucky to interview some of my favorite people and feature them on our site. I hope that through Brass Chicks we can continue to positively impact the women’s brass community and create a more diverse and supportive musical environment.

Leading a Warmup and presenting a Recital at the IWBC

Two weeks ago, I was very fortunate to lead a warmup class and present a recital at the International Women’s Brass Conference in New Jersey. This was my first time at a brass conference specifically focused on women and it was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many great players.

 

The warmup class began at 8 am on Thursday June 9th. I chose to make it a combined warmup and mindfulness session, titling it “How to Start your Day on a Positive Leap for Success” We went through many typical warmup class activities, from mouthpiece buzzing, lip bends, Stamp exercises, and lips slurs yet we also touched on many important concepts away from our instruments. These included health and stretching, improvising, the importance of establishing a daily routine, and how to structure daily sessions to address weaknesses and best prepare for a varied day of playing. It was so exciting to have a mix of trumpet and French horn players in the room but most importantly, over 10 people showed up to warm up on their instrument at 8 o’clock in the morning. Inspiring!

 

On June 10th at 10 am, I presented my recital in the Boyd Recital Hall. Here is my program:

Kate Amrine – Anx
Jessica Rudman – Elegy
Nicole Piunno – Monterey Letters
Jennifer Higdon – Trumpet Songs (movements To Home and Threaded)
Jinhee Han – Yaygara

 

It was so nice to have another opportunity to perform selections from my upcoming CD, featuring music by women composers. This recital was particularly exciting also because it was the second performance of my own composition Anx. I am starting to compose more and this piece has served as a great opener for me in various recitals. It is exciting to delve further into composition and stay tuned for more on my future projects involving my own pieces!

 

I had a great time attending other presentations and recitals at the International Women’s Brass Conference but especially enjoyed the evening concerts. I heard the Athena Brass Band, Ashley Hall, Diva Jazz Orchestra, and Seraph Brass. I also really enjoyed the workshop on Alexander Technique and the Entrepreneurship Panel. While most of the workshops seemed more relevant for older musicians, throughout the conference I kept thinking how great this experience would have been for me and for younger students – especially those who may not have as much diverse representation in their own communities. To be able to see such strong extremely talented and successful musicians together in one place – who happen to be women – is especially inspiring and motivating, at any age.

 

Please check out these lovely videos of the concerts if you weren’t able to attend!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=international+womens+brass+conference+2017

CD Interview 5: Jin Hee Han

This post is the fifth in the series of mini interviews I am doing with all of the composers and  performers featured on my upcoming CD. Find out more information about that project and how YOU can help me make it happen here: http://bit.ly/2negR1Z

There are also some clips from a live performance in this video so please have a listen 🙂

 

So far I have introduced two composers who wrote unaccompanied pieces (Nicole Piunno, Jessica Gardner), two composers who wrote pieces with electronics(Alexandra Gardner, Ariel Marx), two performers that make up The Witches (Ledah Finck and Louna Dekker-Vargas), and two other performers: harpist Peggy Houng and pianist Borah Han. I am very excited to present the last interview I will be doing for this CD – composer Jin Hee Han.

 

How did you first get into music?

I need to bring a short story of my mom first. My mom was always fascinated by Art and Music. Ever since she was young she had dreamed for arts loved the word Jin Hee, which is often referenced for Arts. Unfortunately her circumstances didn’t allow her to pursue the dream for music and always was burden in her heart. To remember the arts instead of signing with her name she always signed JinHee. For this reason, my mom had desired her daughter to have artistic gifts. So, even though I already had a given name from my grand parents, my mom named me as ‘Jin hee’. The story of how my name was decided would tell you and myself being composer was my destiny. My first experience of music was obviously from my mom. She used to bring me classical concerts and music conservatory since I was at age4, which was started my piano lesson. She loved to have a mini concert at home whenever friends and family visited us. However, I haven’t thought about being a composer when I was young. One day, influence of Christianity in belief lead me to decide to be a composer who is able to conduct every instrument with my own imagination, and I’ve started composed music at age 17.

 

What was your inspiration for this piece?

First of all, I was inspired by the sound color of trumpet itself, which is very strait forward instrument, and has great possibilities to explore unique timbres. At the same time, I was sure about that trumpet is enough to express my story. While I was considering writing a trumpet solo piece, I had a dramatic experience, which was related to terror in Turkey. So, I immediately thought that my story and trumpet would be fit perfectly to putting together on one piece.

 

What is new /exciting/ upcoming for you / currently working on?

I just got done with a string orchestra piece in Ukraine, and I have upcoming performance of a work is called, ‘Wounded dragon for violin and 8-string guitar, which I never tried before, and another performance of a piece for flute and harp so far. Also, I’m planning a concert by woman musicians in NYC in the first half of this year.

 
Who are your inspiring women heroes? Musical or not, and why?

I would say my first college composition teacher, Sunhee Cho. She is a very passionate composer, a teacher, a mentor, a friend, and a mom. (She recently became widow.) Most important of her life philosophy is love. As I described her, her personality and life are very respectful by not only me but also her students and every work place. Throughout her life, fifty-six years now, no matter what kinds of situations are happening, she never gave up as living a composer and raising her pupils primarily, and love people, and take care her family and friends so well. This figure of my teacher became my role model as a composer and human being. Her love toward me convicted me to be better person and musician! I’m still in a great relationship with her and doing concerts together sometimes although we live in different countries. I’m so blessed to meet with her in my life.

 

What do you think we can do to change the music culture to be more inclusive of women and other less visibly prominent composers and performers?

Since I’ve been living in the US over for ten years, I’ve meet gifted musician and composers, who have not known visibly prominent. I believe that building the musical culture has lead by not only for the small amount of artists, but also music lovers, audiences, music educators, lots of passionate performers and composers. Also, women have powerful personality to grow our society including music field. While I was at Mannes, I found a small women-supporting group for the reason that I felt women musicians still had inequality so that I could start to share opportunity with other women composers primarily through creating concerts series. One important thing that I realized was doing together is strong movement to change something. However it takes time to be changed the music culture, but if we stick together for what we are passionate for, then I am sure we can change the music culture.

Recital at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford

I am very excited to be presenting a mini recital as part of the Music Marathon for the Women Composers Festival of Hartford!

This festival is the second festival I have performed at that is dedicated to women – from artists to entrepreneurs. It is truly an honor to be here among other composers and performers who are also passionate about performing music by women! I had a conversation with someone on my trip up here on the train and he asked me what the significance of women composers was – both for this festival and my own CD project. It is an interesting question and one that I of course have gotten before (yet usually in more hostile ways). As a non musician and someone who is semi removed from the NYC music scene, this person was genuinely interested and curious as to this connection. When I told him how women composers and performers in some cases were underrepresented in orchestras, music education, and many other situations, he connected with that statement – recognizing only a few women in his experiences working as an engineer. I am excited to be in a position with this festival and my own projects to contribute to raising awareness and changing the culture!

 

You find out more about the rest of the festival here: http://womencomposersfestivalhartford.com/2017-wcfh-music-marathon/

My program features the following pieces:

“Red Sky – I. Awakening” by Peri Mauer
“Monterey Letters” – Nicole Piunno
excerpts from “Trumpet Songs” by Jennifer Higdon
“Elegy” – Jessica Rudman
“Yaygara” – Jin Hee Han

I am so excited to feature some of these pieces on my upcoming CD. You can find out more about that in previous blog posts and here: http://bit.ly/2negR1Z

 

CD Interview 4: Borah and Peggy

This post is the fourth in the series of mini interviews I am doing with all of the composers and  performers featured on my upcoming CD. Find out more information about that project and how YOU can help me make it happen here: http://bit.ly/2negR1Z

There are also some clips from a live performance in this video so please have a listen 🙂


So far I have introduced two composers who wrote unaccompanied pieces (Nicole Piunno, Jessica Gardner), two composers who wrote pieces with electronics(Alexandra Gardner, Ariel Marx), and two performers that make up The Witches (Ledah Finck and Louna Dekker-Vargas). I am very excited to introduce the last two performers on my CD: harpist Peggy Houng and pianist Borah Han.

 

How did you first get into music?

Borah: My parents enrolled me into a piano school in Korea when I was about 6 years old (I know, shocker.) Even though I hardly practiced, I knew I wanted to be a concert pianist from a young age. I never thought once that I’ll stop playing the piano. Even when my first teacher used to hit the back of my hands with a ruler for not curving them correctly. When my mom forced me to quit (due to lack of practice therefore wasting her money), I begged her for months to let me take lessons again. I couldn’t be a pianist stopping lessons at age 9! She budged and years later, after studying with so many wonderful teachers (my honorary moms and dads for life), countless hours in practice rooms, being inspired by other musicians and peers, etc., I’m here in NYC living my dreams.

Peggy: I first got into music when I was in kindergarten by playing the piano. I watched my older sister start playing the piano before me and I couldn’t wait to start playing on the huge upright piano in the living room. From then on, both of us picked a second instrument when we were a couple years older. I picked the harp, and I’m still studying it to this day, earning my graduate performance diploma (GPD) in Harp Performance at Peabody.

 

What is new /exciting/ upcoming for you / currently working on?

Borah: Besides these beautifully layered short songs by Jennifer Higdon we will be recording (can’t wait to share our interpretation), working on being an “honorary mom” one day (see above) to all my piano students in Brooklyn and doing “weird” things inside the piano and what not (yes, extended technique!) in an unusual ensemble (voice/double bass/percussion/pre-recorded electronics/piano) at Roulette this June 22. The haunting and beautiful song cycle “I am the Beggar of the World” was composed by lovely Gemma Peacocke, set to beautiful and heartbreaking stories by Pashtun women. Check it out! https://www.gemmapeacocke.com/wavesandlines

Peggy: As a first year GPD student, I am currently preparing for my first degree recital in April, as well as a couple of interesting upcoming performances. I hope to travel to attend and present two performances with colleagues at the World Harp Congress in Hong Kong.

 
Who are your inspiring women heroes? Musical or not, and why?

Peggy: As of recently, I have been especially inspired by my sister. As my older sister and I have approached our mid-twenties, we’ve encountered some rather challenging decisions: what to study in school, what career to pursue, and what goals to set for the next five years of our lives. While I am still seeking inspiration and aspiring to become a professional harpist of some kind, I watched as my sister tried various career paths in the span of just a couple years. I hope I can be as brave as my sister and try my hand at lots of different things, so I, too, can find my dream career.

 

What do you think we can do to change the music culture to be more inclusive of women and other less visibly prominent composers and performers? 

Borah: I’m not sure. Besides not treating anyone any differently because of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, and class, perhaps by checking your own mindset and actions first. Not judging others, trying to understand where everyone is coming from, going for the root of the problem, etc.
 

Peggy: This is an interesting question for me, as a harpist, since my field is dominated by women. Men have actually become the minority in the harp world, but that doesn’t stop them from pursuing a career in the field. There are amazing harpists, both male and female, and of all races. I think anything is possible, as long as you don’t get stuck in just one mindset. Dear minorities: go ahead and show the world what it’s missing! Don’t let what other people say get you down and fight for what you want.

 

 

CD Interview 3: Ledah and Louna

This post is the third in the series of mini interviews I will be doing with all of the composers and  performers featured on my upcoming CD. Find out more information about that project and how YOU can help me make it happen here: http://bit.ly/2negR1Z

There are also some clips from a live performance in this video so please have a listen 🙂


So far I have introduced two composers who wrote unaccompanied pieces and two composers who wrote pieces with electronics. Today I am very excited to introduce Ledah Finck and Louna Dekker-Vargas. Ledah composed Hill and Holler and both Ledah and Louna make up a duo called The Witches.

 

How did you first get into music/composition?

Louna: Music was always playing in my home growing up. My parents would play everything from Ali Farka Touré to Toto la Momposina, to Mozart to pop music and I loved it all. When I started to play flute in elementary  school it was incredibly fun and challenging both physically and creatively. Because of its intellectual and emotional challenges music to me is a space of growth and exploration for the interpreter as well as the listener, and I am passionate about sharing this with as many as I can.

Ledah: I started playing violin when I was 4. Shortly after that I was introduced to fiddle music, and growing up in the Appalachian mountains, my musical growth always included the community-oriented, highly expressive, world of fiddle playing. This sense of the joy of playing music with, for, and as a community has always kept me captivated by what it means to be a musician.

I’ve been writing fiddle tunes since middle school, but never thought of this as “composition”; it wasn’t till I was about 17 that I started writing more in a classical style, and when I went to a summer festival where some of the students were composers, it occurred to me that composing was something that alive people did, and indeed studied as youths. This kind of blew my mind and gave me the confidence to start writing in earnest, and showing it to people.

 

What was your inspiration for this piece?

Ledah: My grandmother. I recently began exploring her poetry and found that it encapsulated the many things which I have always treasured about her, in particular her connection with nature. This piece celebrates that connection, inspired by my memories both real and imagined of her wandering her property in rural West Virginia.

 

What is new /exciting/ upcoming for you / currently working on?

Louna: I am currently in two chamber groups, a duo called The Witches and a trio called Trio Jinx. We have concerts and performances planned in El Paso, Texas in April. The Witches are currently working on a CD of new music for our duo called “Behind the Curtain”, each piece honoring a woman and her story in the world. I am so excited to share this music! Both groups have unusual instrumentations (flute/violin – The Witches, and flute/viola/bass in the trio) so we are constantly having to reinvent pre-existing music and create new music for our groups to play.

Ledah: I’m finishing up a piece right now for flute, viola, and double bass, which is the instrumentation of my trio, Trio Jinx. We’re hard at work on a program of new works and our own arrangements, which we’ll be touring in March and April 2017. Next I’ll start working on a string quartet that was commissioned with the intent of building appropriate but exciting repertoire for intermediate students, a project that I’m really excited about, and on expanding a solo viola piece I wrote recently. I’m also working on new sounds for my experimental duo The Witches.

 

Who are your inspiring women heroes? Musical or not, and why?

 Louna: Some of my all-time inspirations that also happen to be women are Erykah Badu, Assia Djebar, Malala Yousafz, Wangari Maathai,  and Claire Chase. These women have all crossed boundaries fearlessly in their art whether it be in music, social activism, environmental protection and literature. Coming into contact with their voices and visions has undoubtedly shaped me into who I am today.

Ledah: Some women musicians I continually go back to are Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Joanna Newsom, Bjork, Caroline Shaw, Rhiannon Giddens; all women whose artistry spans an incredible breadth of poeticism and expression that speaks to me deeply, and who have cultivated powerful communities around the music they create which are far greater than just the sound and performance. Non-musical, I right away find myself thinking of (of course) my grandmother Paula, and of Maude from the movie Harold and Maude; the latter is fictional, but I very much believe in her and think we have an incredible amount to gain from listening to our matriarchs.
 
 
What do you think we can do to change the music culture to be more inclusive of women and other less visibly prominent composers and performers?
 
Louna: I think that inclusivity organically comes about from healthy artistic communities where the production of art is not tied up with hierarchies of power and prestige, which are predominantly spheres dominated by men, but rather in the quality of the artistic work. If systems of artistic support truly rooted themselves in the development and support of excellent work, resources would more consistently be allocated to female and other, more marginalized groups, such as people of color. I do not mean to confuse excellence, however, with the narrow precepts of  of the Western tradition, which is inherently biased to white male forms of expression and experience, but refer instead to excellence in the rigor of expression, the authenticity of the work and the palpable vibration of a truly transformative artistic voice. These traits should be the focus and priority. I think if that were the case, women’s voices and other marginalized voices would naturally take their place front and center by virtue of their intrinsic quality.
 

Ledah: This is definitely something I am still pondering. I think that the culture is set up to self-perpetuate male-centricness, given that Western music curriculum idolizes those “dead white guys” as gods and has little to no room for anyone else. Like most histories, classical music’s was written by those who had the power. Therefore, it’s necessary to make a conscious effort to seek out music-makers of all types. The pool to be drawn from is made up largely of white males, so unless you’re very conscious of this, the people you choose work with are likely going to represent that demographic.  (The “you” I address here is people like me, who are marginalized only because of their gender). This does not have to mean highlighting an artist “only” because they are female, a person of color, etc: those artists are entirely as likely as white males to be wonderful artists, but there are fewer who have been encouraged and given resources to practice their art. “Classical music” is beginning to have an increasingly broad definition, but we can continue to look and listen actively within and outside of our communities, rather than relying on institutions that by default perpetuate exclusion.

 
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