A Memo to Private Teachers/A Thank You to My Dance Instructors

TW: sexual assault

My parents enrolled me in dance classes when I was three years old. My mom claims it was because I was clumsy (I believe her, as I’m still clumsy), but integrating myself into a world of high buns, leotards, pink tights, and hairspray taught me innumerable lessons that have affected my musical training from the beginning. Dancing was where music got to be fun, where I got out all the energy I’d never be able to project through a horn or a piano. But there were hidden benefits, too—chief among them, the safety net that helped me as a young victim of sexual assault.

Unlike the majority of women, my assault wasn’t committed by someone I knew, but claiming and using my body as my own, as something I could use to create amazing things, was and is a key part of my recovery. Dance has always been key to that. And the most affirming things I’ve ever heard from a teacher were spoken in dance class: “Is it okay if I fix your posture?” “Can I lift your leg to help you stretch?” “Will you come up here to show the class?” “I’m going to shape your foot, okay?”

Did you catch the commonality running through these questions? Each one asked my permission for an act that required my body. Further, not a single teacher touched us outside of those corrective moments, except for high fives or holding hands (you try herding twelve kindergarteners onto a dark stage and let me know how that works out). I knew as early as elementary school that people should ask before touching me, and I owe that to my dance teachers past and present.

Dance has its fair share of systemic problems. Not all teachers are like that. But in music, most teachers aren’t.

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On the “#MeToo generation,” per the president

“We have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very careful.”

Can we just pause for a minute?

I don’t know which demographic, exactly, the President of the United States has decided to grace with the title of the #MeToo generation. My best guess is my generation—millennials (what a surprise)—but regardless, labeling a single set of folks in this way is both misleading and actively harmful. It belittles all the brave individuals who have stepped forward to share their stories, their moments of sheer terror and dissociation and all the fallout that goes with being a victim or survivor or casualty or what-have-you of sexual assault.

And those people don’t fit into a generation.

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Dear Teenage Girls, You Deserve Better

This couldn’t wait.

The news crossed my desk earlier today, but I admit I’ve only just gotten to spend some quality time on the internet reading about the allegations against Austin Jones, YouTuber and musician. (Check out his page if you want, but I’d think twice about watching his videos.) Jones has had a turbulent and controversial history of inappropriate interactions with fans—in 2015, he admitted to and apologized for asking fans to send him videos of them twerking. Read Alternative Press’ coverage of Jones’ apology here. At the time, there was lots of speculation as to whether fans were just on a witch hunt or if there was something of a darker substance at work.

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Multifaceted: It’s Time for the Recital

After four fantastic (and incredibly challenging) years at ASU, I’m thrilled to be presenting some of my best work for various instrumentations on my senior recital! You’ll get to hear some trumpet music and some non-trumpet music as played by a swarm of my friends and collaborators from the Phoenix area. The program is as follows:

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Bringin’ it Back: Don’t Tell Enters the Jazz World

When prepping a senior recital, most music students stop working on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, I’m not most music students, so despite scheduling myself into three sets of rehearsals and overseeing two more, I’m still on a creative kick. That’s really helpful when I need a break from thinking about logistics, but when I run into a musical quandary, I find it even more difficult to overcome than I usually would.

Take last week’s dilemma: I’ve been invited back to the Nash Composers’ Coalition (yay!) for our spring showcase of new works.

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Welcome to the (Electronic) Jungle

Happy Spring Break!

I’ve been taking this week to explore places I’ve never been before, prep for my senior recital, and generally just relax before the hailstorm of midterms and rehearsals I’ll be thrown into once we’re back in school. In all the craziness of last week, I forgot to mention that I’ve begun posting recordings of my first experiments with electronic music and sound art. Here’s a brief rundown on each one, along with links to other places where you can learn more about them:

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Don’t Tell: February Premieres and Shenanigans

Hi everyone! I hope your holiday season was restful and filled with friends and family and all that jazz. Mine involved lots of traveling, but now that we’re back to a (mostly) normal school schedule, I’ve returned to my normal music-making groove. February is a busy month for me – despite it being the shortest of the year, I and my peers have a lot going on! Here’s a sampling:

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