CMA Students travel to New Orleans for Musicological Conference


From Colin Hochstetler: In November of 2022, I traveled to New Orleans, LA for the joint conference of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for Music Theory. This was possible thanks to the generous support Dean Bill Mathis and the CMA, who helped fund my travels with an award, and Pro Musica, which supplied further funding. The primary goal of my attendance to this event was to broaden my understanding of the field of musicology. This goal was successfully met, and along the way, I made many professional connections with scholars in the field, witnessed awe-inspiring speeches such as one given by leading international musicologist Daniel Chua, strengthened my relationships with faculty from BGSU that attended the conference, and made many new friends with fellow undergraduate and graduate students from across the country.

My first day in New Orleans was spent exploring the city and trying new food with my friends from the CMA, as well as resting after a long day of flying. The real adventure began on Thursday, as I attended many events that set the scene for the rest of the weekend. They included a paper session titled Political Economies of Jazz, a paper session on Disciplinary Borders in Ethnomusicology Today, a session about Early Modern Science, Daniel Chua’s hour-long lecture on why Music is Joy, and receptions hosted by various universities. The night concluded by gathering for dinner with new friends I made from Rice University.

On Friday, Josh Lyphout, Sarah Kindley, and I went to a special breakfast for students event hosted by BGSU’s very own Dr. Gregory Decker. It was at this gathering where we had the opportunity to hear from and speak with the President of the Society for Music Theory. This day was packed full of paper sessions: I observed presentations on topics such as Musicology and the Politics of Narrative, Narrative in Popular Music, papers on Music, Meaning, and Affect, and papers on Facts, Fictions, and the Musicological Imaginary. I was also able to attend Dr. Arne Spohr’s presentation, where I was happy to hear him present research I had heard him talk about before.

In this busy day of learning about various topics in musicology were also many moments of socialization. I reunited with BGSU graduate Sam Teeple, whom I had the pleasure to be acquainted with at the AMS Midwest conference hosted at BGSU in October, for lunch at a restaurant not far from our hotel. I also wandered the large graduate fair, where I had the opportunity to collect information from nearly every graduate program present at the conference. I had many wonderful conversations with musicologists from institutions across the country and discussed my research interests with those who cared to listen. BGSU’s reception took place in the evening, and it was here where I was able to meet with Dr. Papanikolaou and Dr. Decker to discuss the events of the conference up to this point. To finish out the day, I ate dinner and explored the city with Patrick and Sarah, two PhD candidates from the University at Buffalo, and Nick Emmanu, a recent graduate from their PhD program. I met Patrick and Sarah the previous day by attending Patrick’s presentation on the music theory of Kepler in the Early Modern Science paper session, after which I asked Patrick many questions about his research, and we even had a conversation about mine.

Saturday was a day of well-needed socializing and rest; listening to the advice of many scholars, I attended very few paper sessions. At the start of the day, I explored the French Quarter and saw street musicians and artists all over the place. I learned about the city’s history, watched cargo ships travel along the Mississippi River, explored Bourbon Street, and continued to eat New Orleans staples (in fact, during my stay in the city, I only ate New Orleans staples). After this exploration of the city, though, my Saturday concluded with learning more about musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory. The social interactions I had this day proved extremely beneficial for networking and for intellectual engagement. Starting in the evening, I attended receptions hosted by institutions such as Yale, Indiana University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Toronto, and Princeton. I did what many musicologists called “party hopping,” traveling to and from lots of receptions to eat lots of free food (and network, of course). At these receptions, I had the opportunity to make connections with scholars from across the country and established professional relationships, with some people wanting to stay in touch about my research. I also successfully put myself into musicological conversations and made myself known among professors whose graduate programs I intend on applying to.

Overall, the trip to New Orleans for the joint conference was a major success. The conference allowed me to learn what it might be like to present at a major conference, helped me grow accustomed to topics being discussed in contemporary scholarship, offered a wide range of networking opportunities, and helped me find new friends in my field. On top of participating in this major musicological event, I was able to explore New Orleans for the first time in my life and experience traveling on my own with my friends. The memories of discussions in the hotel room, late night dinners, city explorations, and conversations I had with many people will never fade. Attending this conference boosted my desire to dive deep into musicology, which I have been doing with my recent research project. I look forward to what the future holds.

Updated: 08/24/2023 01:42PM