Surviving, and Thriving, While Freelancing

Some people dream of being “their own boss.” I suffer the proverbial fear of the blank page, and I wish just one person would give me a place to work and a time to do it. The more you freelance, the more self-discipline and organization you need. Most freelancers report back to someone, but freelance…

How To Write About Music: A Definitive Method

This is a technique I learned in music school, from one or maybe two teachers who taught a class on musical analysis. It can work on any body of music in any style: I’ve used it to talk about “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, the sociological importance of A Tribe Called Quest (using the album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm as an example), and a Ghanian folk song I had absolutely no background on, including a lyrical translation. The Music Map lets you dissect and diagram every part of a song and assign meaning to it. Then, when you’ve fully formed your understanding of the core essence you want to talk about, it gives you a chart of exactly how to write about it.

25 Songs Rolling Stone Forgot About This Century

18 and 1/2 years into the 21st century, Rolling Stone, celebrating a visual rebranding of the print magazine, decided to take a tally of the era’s greatest songs. The magazine was careful to point out the list does not reflect its editorial views, but the votes of “a large group of artists, producers, critics and industry…

Shimmy: The Shakedown on NU Belly Dance

Originally published in Tastemakers Issue #49. (See link or scroll down for full spread.) Passing the Curry Dance Studio on Mondays, one might mistake it for an Egyptian dance party. Well, it wouldn’t be much of a mistake, except that the people inside are still just learning to party like an Egyptian. Or anyone else…

Feel It Still: Why My Dad Shares My Spotify Account

Modern culture likes to paint dads as very simple creatures. (“Why, in cartoons, is the dad always an idiot?” my dad used to ask.) The family collective, and each member individually, tends to learn him for a few tried-and-true points of contact. Aside from being Boat Dad, Hockey Dad, and Construction Dad, mine is Classic…

The Basics of Modernism

The following is a transcript (written by me) of a presentation of modernism (focusing on modernist texts and further research) to students at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. The included section is an introduction that, read alone, can provide a good preliminary overview of the wide-reaching, unifying theories of modernism as it applies to art, literature,…

Best of Summer NAMM 2016

The ever-expanding world of music products offers everything from the lowest-level entry point to the music industry to the pinnacle of musical luxury, true works of playable art. The unique physicality of music making knows no greater celebration than the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. To share just a few items that made…

Rollercoasters, Yoga, and Other Practices in Discomfort

I haven’t dealt much with fear. I was raised practically. When I was younger I was afraid of rollercoasters. My parents convinced me as a child  to try a small, but very rickety old wooden coaster from the 1920s. Aside from being jostled in the uncomfortable seats, I felt coerced, and completely without control. I…

On the Chronological Irrelevance of Music in Period Dramas

Today I celebrated the return of Peaky Blinders  by texting my friends, “PEAKY BLINDERS,” but I don’t think that’ll cut it as a whole blog post. So instead I’ve contemplated the edgy and engaging soundtrack and realized how intriguing I find the implications of musical anachronism. One scene in particular  during the first episode of…

Alphabooks

My first post is not about music, but I’m the captain now. My friend Alexa inspired me with her post Books You Should Read, A to Z: A Response to Rookie’s May 9 “Dear Diary”, in which she lists 26 titles with brief and endearing synopses. Brevity being both attractive and elusive to me, I…