A Musician in Your Midst
I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to two thousand people at once before, so you’re all going to have to lean in nice and close.
I’m Smashley! I’m a jazz saxophonist, a writer, and a skeptic. I’m really excited to be able to fuse the three of those into one awesome bloggin’ bundle by getting to post for such an innovative new site. Really, really excited.
I just got my master’s in jazz studies from the University of North Texas in May, after which I moved on to a new exciting life in Chicago. I gig here and there, and I pay my bills by writing for a popular company’s website that shall remain nameless because it is popular. And a company. But suffice it to say, the things I write for them are nothing like the things I’ll be writing for you. They’re not that special. You’re the only one for me, bebeh.
My move to Chicago coincided with my discovery of Skepchick, and, soon after, my introduction to all sorts of amazing and brilliant skeptical people in the city. The idea that I actually get to post on an offshoot of Skepchick, a site that’s respected and admired by everyone I respect and admire, is unimaginably awesome. See? It just goes to show that you can accomplish anything if you bribe Elyse handsomely.
The connection of music to science and skepticism is something I’ve thought about for a long time. With visual art, you can depict humbling astronomical wonders or draw hilarious skeptical comics and show things, really establish ideas in a concrete way. Music is abstract by its very nature. Sure, there are plenty of brilliant skeptical musicians out there who sing songs about rationality and critical thinking, the two most inspiring to me being George Hrab and Tim Minchin, but it’s a completely different ball game when you bring this to purely instrumental music. I can’t exactly communicate that “Everything Alive Will Die Someday” with a saxophone and a rhythm section.
Still, I have a few ideas, and I’m bursting at the seams to share them with you. A couple of topics I’m especially interested in are the curious effects music has on the brain and the everyday skepticism of being a jazz musician (there really is some. It’s not all sunglasses and smoky bars, you know). I may share some of the things I researched in my master’s, in hopes that it doesn’t get too terribly dry. But you guys are skeptics. Skeptics can handle dry with a smile and a thank you.
I’m looking forward to it!