Society for Ethnomusicology

Wrapping Up This Week Like It’s Christmas.. With Newspaper and Duct Tape.


...but only sometimes.

I’ve decided I need to have more fun.  I realize I no longer live in New Orleans, but it doesn’t mean I can’t live like I still do. Now what this means  is that in general my life should include more  spontaneity and nonsensical silliness. I’ve gotten into this rut of reading, sleeping, eating convenience foods, grading, prepping for classes, and letting my dogs pee. If I’m feeling rebellious, I’ll watch some Netflix. With that said, I do enjoy weekends here with friends. Usually by Friday afternoon at four you can see a gaggle of musicologists sniffing out the nearest bar to escape the secretive black velvet bag full of buzz words:  hegemony, hermeneutics, all-things-cultural-theory, reflexivity, semiotics, etc. We do all manage to find our way home before Monday morning rolls around.  I think though, that I’d like to begin interspersing a few pixels of fun into the still-shots of my Monday-Friday. It may help me feel less like a preacher’s-daughter-turned-loose by the time Friday comes around (okay that’s really kind of an exaggeration).

Excuse me for getting all dharma on you for a second here, but in Buddhist terms I’m aching to grasp onto the middle way.  It was the first post-enlightenment sermon that the Buddha chose to give after stretching his legs out and having a few sips of water, no doubt.  Based on a life of balancing the extremes, it seems appropriate here. I have the discipline to be rigid and academic all the time, but quite frankly I don’t want to.  There’s always the possibility of losing yourself in it as the path is so clearly laid out.  So, how do I laugh more between chapters? I’m not sure. Perhaps the acknowledgment of the necessity for it is a strong enough propulsion.

Now that I’ve vented a bit, I can discuss my past week. This semester has gone incredibly odd so far – picture letting the air out of a balloon and watching it zip around the air in all directions.   I’m ready to take a deep breath and let the semester really begin.  Last week, my productivity was extremely low on Wednesday and Friday. My partner travels for work quite frequently and she was out of town on a recruitment trip all week. I feel like this always impacts my world negatively (yes okay, I miss her when she’s gone and my anxiety tends to flair), and I’m not sure how to put a damper on that. Again, perhaps just the acknowledgment of it will stop it in its tracks.

I’m finally doing some deep breathing with regards to my schedule. I think I’ve got a handle on it. It just took some finagling to ensure I could plan and organize everything. Luckily, thanks to the ever-visible organizational OCD, I’m pretty good at that.

My last gripe of the day: Who decided to plan SEM-SEC’s (Society for Ethnomusicology – Southeast & Caribbean Chapter) Nashville meeting during our annual Rainbow (world music) Concert weekend (or vice versa)?

Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) 55th Annual Meeting: Sound Ecologies

I’m off to the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) conference tomorrow in Los Angeles and very excited about what this week will bring.

There are several panels and papers I’m looking forward to, including Amimbola Cole’s “Lessons Learned from Incorporating Ethnomusicological Training in Elementary and Middle School Classrooms”, Thomas Richardson’s “So Old It’s Almost New: The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ideologies of Tradition, and What It Means to Play Old-Time Music”, Jeffrey Cupchiks’ paper on ethnomusicology and Buddhist studies, papers on queer and gender studies, on the Tongan Brass Band community, and an entire panel devoted to musical ethnographies of New Orleans chaired by Matt Sakakeeny (Tulane).

Before I even get there I have a few small first-impression criticisms based on what I’ve been told by others who’ve attended the conference. I’ve never been to a conference before where you had to pay extra (on top of the registration fee) to see musical performances in the evenings, although I hear that within musicology that’s commonplace. This makes no sense to me. Likewise, I’ve been told that it is convention for every speaker to have their paper in hand and read word-for-word what’s on their paper instead of presenting it. This doesn’t exactly make for an engaging audience experience. Why is this convention?

Regardless of these, I am excited to attend.  Hopefully I’ll be posting updates from it and sharing anything exciting that I learn. I have a good chunk of time to hang out in L.A., also – though I still have no plans on that end.

Is it sad that I’m looking forward to two nine-hour flights to help me get caught up on course readings?