Jacqueline Wilson Highlights
Some highlights from my conversation with Jacqueline Wilson:
“The thing classical music and being Native have in common is reassuring people we are not obsolete.”
“Even if what you do is unorthodox, or unexpected or outside of the box, what you do and who you are is important and you should share it with other people.”
Classical Music in Indian Country
In Indian Country, we often discuss being “traditional,” but in today’s episode, we get to hear someone who is “classical” while also being indigenous. That person is Jacqueline Wilson, a “classical Native”
Jacqueline Wilson is Yakama.
She is an Assistant Professor at Southeast Missouri State University and is a professional bassoonist. She also is the creator of the website Molto Native Music, which promotes Native musicians in classical music.
I really enjoy finding people that I can have a conversation where I learn not only about their own experience, but to learn about things I have very little exposure to, and this is one of those shows.
Jacqueline started playing the bassoon after a high school teacher suggested that the instrument may be a way for her to earn a scholarship to attend college. She started learning the instrument, and before long she enrolled at Eastern Washington University. But her first semester, she took an F in her orchestra class. Her professor essentially told her she didn’t belong.
That statement fired a spark within her, and she spent several months practicing several hours each day. The very next semester, she earned an A with the same professor. That spark carried her to Boston University for her Master’s, and to the University of Iowa for her Ph.D. She is now a professor and professional musician. Quite the journey from her first semester of college
After sharing her personal journey, where we dove into many topics, Jacqueline entertained some of my “101” questions about classical music. She shared some tips about what to listen for when listening to music (repetition and musical tension i.e. dissonance).
Jacqueline shared some Native musicians to check out, and they are great.
I’m so happy that she shared these pieces with me, I’m fascinated already and look forward to learning more about Natives doing their thing in this space. Have a listen.