Women in music speaker series

Falesha Brodie, theCULTURE Editor

On Sep. 15, the women of the Theta Zeta chapter of Tau Beta Sigma hosted a “Women in Music” speaker series.

The panel included Shaniqua Joseph, Cynthia Johnson, and Jamese Moses. All N.C. A&T alumni. Christen Dixon, a junior pre-medicine student and a member of the N.C. A&T Gospel Choir was also a featured panelist. Each discussed their experiences as woman in music.

The moderator of the event, Adjoray Yed, a junior biology student and the vice president of the sorority, opened the discussion by asking the panelist what advice they would give their young selves coming into the music field.

“Thinking back, I would tell myself not to be so hard on myself when things don’t go they way you want them to go. Sometimes things will reconvene, and you’ll end up in a better place,” Moses said.

Dixon reflected on a time when she was one of the only black girls in an orchestra. She said being the minority, influenced her decision to stop playing the viola and exercising her talents.

“Just because you don’t look the part, doesn’t mean you don’t fit the part,” Dixon said.

They also took time to expound on why they chose a career and music and their favorites parts of the field.

Johnson, a middle school band director, started playing the flute in the 5th grade. Her older sister played the clarinet and Johnson looked up to her sister. However, she did not want to remain her shadow.

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Johnson credits her first high school band director for her decision to teach.

“He was the best trumpet player I’d ever heard in my life,” she said. “I loved the way he talked to talked to us and showed leadership. He made me want be a teacher.”

The women went on to discuss something that they learned about themselves while in their profession.

“I have a lot of patience. I can deal with a lot more stress than I thought,” Johnson said.

Johnson also applauds teachers who have children.

“I don’t know they do it, but that’s a lot to go home to kids after you’ve been with kids all day,” she said.

When asked how service plays a role in their careers, Joseph opened up about being a new teacher. Two years prior to teaching, she served at the school she currently works for. Two days a week, she would come help with the band program.

Also being a member on Tau Beta Sigma, she would help students who were new to playing instruments and take them to professional concerts.

Moses also enjoys returning home to give others exposure. She sometimes teaches community drum lines free of charge and inspires students to find their “rhythm.”

“Showing kids that they can do anything they put their mind to is the whole purpose,” she said.

The panelist were transparent about the hardships they faced in a such a male dominated field. Interestingly, Dixon said she never experienced issues from men in the field. Only women.

“Anything bad that’s been out in my ear has always been from females. A lot people to don’t hear that often, but I graduated high school at 16 and none of my teachers wanted me to go off to college,” she said. “Even my mother was skeptical about me leaving.”

But Moses’ experiences were not quite the same.

“Being percussionist, there’s been a lot of times where I’ve auditioned for something and was told they were actually looking for a male drummer,” Moses said.

Remembering their time in undergrad, the panelist talked about how music played a role in them becoming leaders.

Joseph, also a previous member of N.C. A&T’s marching band, said it helped her find herself.

“Undergrad helped me find the person that I always wanted to be,” Joseph said. “I was really quiet and didn’t know many people. But between the band, cold steel and Tau Beta Sigma, I gained so many opportunities and network with so many people. “

After the moderated discussion, the women took questions at the end and continued to provide suggestions and advice to the audience.