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just a little bit (open score)

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Run time: open. A text score I wrote while trying to empower myself making improvised music in a body assumed to house a gender other than my own. It’s short and sweet, but your interpretation of it may not be. (or it might, and that’s great too!)

Description

Originally, this piece was supposed to be something I turned to for empowerment. The title is taken from Aretha Franklin’s seminal “Respect,” a song I grew up loving and have since gotten to lecture on. At the time I wrote just a little bit, I was longing for the admiration—and, frankly, respect—that came with making improvised music in a body assumed to house a gender other than my own. I was feeling limited, but I wanted to reach out, to reclaim some of that power and authority on my terms. I’ve never been a loud, lots-of-notes improviser, and I wanted to make art that allowed me to burrow into those favorite parts of myself.

The premiere, though, came days after the school shooting in Saugus, California, roughly ten minutes from CalArts, where I’d done my masters. I’d lived within twenty minutes of Saugus High mere months before. My then-partner grew up in Santa Clarita, competing in track and field against students from that same school. That week, we longed to be home in Los Angeles more than we had at any point prior.

As a result, just a little bit is still about reaching for strength and power, but it’s something you can interpret however strikes you as you’re performing it. If you’re reaching for the big, bold, sweeping ideologies I originally was, take that and run with it; if you’re in a dark place and trying to reach for something, anything, to grab onto and hold tight, that’s okay, too. The pacing and musical decisions are ultimately yours. However you interpret this, though, do take care of yourself. We need you in the fight.

Run time: as long or as short as you want.

Past performances:

  • 11/15/2019: Desert Palm United Church of Christ, Tempe, AZ (world premiere, on a “women in jazz” concert about six months before I came out. hence the program notes)

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