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MLA Presentation: Academic Music Libraries and Local Musicians

March 1 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Jon will be presenting a joint session with Eric Hung at the 93rd Meeting of the Music Library Association, February 28-March 2, 2024. Details for the full event may be found here: https://conferences.wp.musiclibraryassoc.org. Eric and Jon’s presentation Academic Music Libraries and Local Musicians will take place on Friday, March 1, 4-5:30pm.

Details below (from pp 40-41 of the preliminary schedule).

Academic Music Libraries and Local Musicians

Speakers: Eric Hung, Jon Silpayamanant

The presenters argue that ethical engagement with local musicians should be a key responsibility of academic music librarians and archivists. We believe that this work can help students learn about the wide variety of musical opportunities available in the local area, gain knowledge about the many strategies that professional musicians use to earn a living, and develop a useful professional network. It can also produce stronger musical ecosystems where musicians from vastly different backgrounds can meet each other and collaborate in various ways. This work makes music libraries relevant in the community. Additionally, many librarians and archivists will find these activities fulfilling and rewarding.

The first presenter will discuss his work documenting community music ensembles. His organization chose to focus on these groups because they play important roles: from performing at community festivals and weddings to teaching children. Yet, when groups stop performing, they leave very little trace, particularly after their websites and social media accounts disappear. He will share what he learned through this project from a youth ensemble, a weekly open mic event, and a percussion ensemble for seniors. He will also discuss some of the logistical and ethical challenges he has encountered.

The second presenter will discuss his work documenting and digitizing materials from local music ensembles and score collections at a local university library. Being an active performer in a number of non-mainstream musical communities, he has had many discussions of possible ways to make publicly available the wealth of recordings, videos, and event related materials tied to these communities. His work in helping digitize a large sheet music and score archive donated by a local early music group to a local university library, in addition to long time projects collecting and making publicly available music related resources, informs what he views as a form of local public musicology.

After our short presentations, we invite audience members to share the work they do with local musicians. Overall, we hope that attendees will be convinced of the importance of this work and will learn strategies about how to do it effectively and ethically.


March 1
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
35 West Fifth Street Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45202 United States
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