Orchestra tour took up the first week of CURI, so I am jumping straight into the Musical Geography Project straight after a week of wonderful music. Lizzie and Louis started already and will help myself and my fellow touring researchers get into the swing of things and a better understanding of what this project entails. I’m still in the process of unpacking my room and getting myself and my many, many plants situated, so it’s a bit challenging to jump into the research mindset but I’m excited to see where the summer goes!

We’re looking into people involved in music from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to see where they’ve ended up — musicians, performers, composers, or anyone involved in music at these schools. We’re going to find some individuals and follow their lives and accomplishments and map it, which can hopefully be analyzed to see how other socioeconomic factors may have impacted their ability to pursue music, or why there are so many black musicians that have flown under the musicology radar for so long. It’s a very broad topic, so we have the ability to form our research as it goes, so instead of answering one specific question going in, we can form multiple that maybe have never been asked. Though I’ve taken classes that are relevant to this topic, such as music and social justice, addressing these potential influences and seeing how HBCUs function on a smaller scale will be really enlightening. Hearing personal stories and uncovering history will be much more telling of social justice than seeing a broader overview, as classes tend to have. I’m hoping that this project will widen my world view, as well as help me develop new research skills and public speaking. In my biology and environmental studies majors I’ve gotten used to research as a very exact process – find a question, perform an experiment, collect and analyze results, make a discrete conclusion. Though this isn’t completely different to that, it’s exciting to have questions come up throughout that we can investigate and change the scope of our project as we see fit. I’ve done a couple of musicology classes as well that allowed me to come up with my own topic for an essay, but nothing so broad and so personal as what we’re working on here.

For a more in depth introduction to who I am (though I’ve already mentioned some of this), I am Ariana, a rising senior majoring in music, biology, and environmental studies (I’m very indecisive). I like having the balance between humanities and natural sciences, especially because in doing biological research it’s easy to forget who the research can benefit. I grew up in Bellingham, Washington, which is a beautiful city between the Cascades and the ocean. At the end of this I’ve put some pictures of my silly little dog, Oliver, who I miss very much though I’m excited to get to know Barely! I can’t wait to see where the summer goes and what we uncover in our research!