Almost three years ago exactly, I showed up to my first Eclectic concert, as a wide-eyed, naive pre-frosh, a total stranger to the “college music scene.” There was loud, thrashy music coming from the ballroom, where a small crowd was gathered. While dancing wildly around with all these strange older cool college kids, I thought to myself, “Wow! I am actually doing this. I am a skinny, lanky dude moshing! And it feels great! And I should totally come here and do this more!” And the rest was, as they say, history.
The first in a series on the on-campus intersections of gender, race, and music performance
If I could conduct a survey about gender and music performance, it would go something like this:
- How old were you when you began playing music?
- What instrument(s) did you start playing at a young age?
- What instruments did you pick up as you got older?
- When was the last time you performed in public?
My questionable pollster skills notwithstanding, I would guess that the results would look something like this: started playing piano/trombone/oboe at age 6/7/8, picked up guitar/bass/synth at age 15, etc. According to my hypothesis, a gender divide wouldn’t start to show until Question 2–for the lucky ones who got an early start in musical education, our instrument choices would probably follow a gendered pattern: with a few exceptions, boys generally chose saxophones and baritone horns while girls chose flutes and oboes. By the time everyone quit band in high school, many boys got their hands on guitars and drum kits and began performing at school functions and family parties. And the girls learned guitar in their rooms, and never played in public again, unless under the influence of alcohol. The end?
Last semester, Wesleying interviewed Molly Balsam ’14 about her hopes to make Wesleyan’s music scene more inclusive. Her plans to start a Women’s Music Co-op on campus are now underway and will kick off tomorrow. She writes in with more info:
I am starting a Women’s Music Co-op that will attempt to address and resolve some of the issues women have with the music scene at Wes. I have tons of ideas on how to do this, but first and foremost I would like to find out what other musical ladies are thinking and feeling before I start to make any concrete plans. SO this forum will hopefully help to get the ball rolling. Come hang out! I will be in the Usdan Multipurpose Room from 5:30-7:30 tomorrow running this forum.
Date: Tomorrow (Thursday)
Time: 5:30-7:30 PM
Place: Usdan Multipurpose Room (in the basement)
Feminist, artist, musician, and citizen of humanity Ally Bernstein ’13 is continuing the discussion:
How can we foster an inclusive and exciting music and arts scene at Wesleyan?
Recently, I wrote an opinion piece about the lack of female performers in Spring Fling (since then, Girl#$wag has been added to the line-up; shout out Emma Daniels ’13). Members of the band Whore Paint (hailing from Providence, RI) will be on campus at 4:00 PM to discuss their experiences and answer questions. All are welcome to come share and discuss strategies for fostering an empowering scene at Wesleyan.
Date: Saturday, May 4
Time: 4:oo PM
Place: Room 113, 41 Wyllys
Read on for Ally’s rundown of Whore Paint’s members.