Making and Teaching Music in Times of Racism

In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center went into the collection of music sold on iTunes, and flagged 54 bands that were either affiliated with hate groups or directly advocating hatred of and violence against non-white people. Protest and pressure lead to a change in policy that made these songs less available – but the…

Music in time of oppression

Creative musicians and artists, in their desires for freedom of expression, often respond to totalitarian regimes with suspicion if not contempt. These oppressive states have likewise censored and even persecuted artists unwilling to advance the government propaganda.  Just ask Dmitri Shostakovich (a composer censored and threated by Soviet Union for creating supposedly “pro-Western” music), Victor…

Bringing it All Back Home: Reconciling Dylan and Seeger

The 1965 Newport Folk Festival is widely considered one of the most iconic moments in rock history. It is one of those historical moments where it felt like everything changed radically in an instant, where the familiar fell apart and a new thing was birthed.  A lot has been written and said about the event;…

reflections on playing for a wedding

This weekend, I played for a wedding.   While I normally don’t deal with a lot of pre-performance anxiety (most of the time, I can usually talk or gentle breathe myself into knowing I’ll do ok and then feel fine), I did wake up with just a small amount of fear, mostly because I knew it…