“What are your future goals, dreams, and aspirations? These can be career-related, about the impact you might want to have on the world, or about how you want to feel every day when you wake up.”
As a Digital Music student at Hostos Community College, I hope to not only become a professional musician but to help make the American music industry a safer, much more nourishing place for musicians the world over. Growing up in an unorthodox home in the late 1990s and 2000s, music and the musicians who made the music I loved provided me with a steady source of comfort and creative and intellectual fulfillment. And I would want little more than to spend the majority of my years giving back to the community that so fiercely gave to me when I needed that bounty the most.
Over time (and with help from the lessons I have learned while at Hostos), I have realized that aside from general competition or the ever-evolving taste of the general public, we musicians are facing a veritable mountain of systemic threats and barriers. And unfortunately, a fair amount of those threats and obstacles come from within our own walls. As a multiply marginalized student from a generationally underserved population, I personally and profoundly understand the importance of a thorough, flexible, affordable, and progressive education. But how many other musicians do? How many other musicians know that the ability to have a vigorous or rewarding academic background in our field of work is one of the major keys to finally unlocking and achieving the full-scale financial, creative, and psychological freedom that we want, need, and deserve within the industry? And that with steady and aggressive activism and advocacy, the reality of a low-cost or free American music education is entirely within our grasp?
After watching writers and actors from all over the country come together and harness their collective power to demand the fair treatment they deserve, I wholeheartedly believe that musicians are capable of this power, too. We first just have to recognize our power, where it lies, and what can help strengthen said power. And I know without a doubt that it is education.