AMS Happened A Couple Of Weeks Ago

Submitted by Andy on Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:50

I wasn't originally planning on doing a post-op of my maiden AMS experience, consider I thought that the general populace would find it boring as shit. However, an entire meme has passed me by with nary a tag and thus I realize that I should chop-chop on the posty-posty. Henceforth, what I learned on my "vacation" to Nashville.

1) I went to way more papers than other people.

Perhaps it was just novice enthusiasm but except for Saturday, which I took off to play a recital in Murfreesboro, I hit the morning and afternoon sessions everyday. So that's at least eight papers a day, which seems to at least double most people's actual attendance and multiply by infinity other people's preferred attendance (zero). However, I suppose all I could do would be going to papers since...

2) My schmoozing skillz are far, far from l33t

The receptions are the real reasons everyone goes to AMS. That and drinking will all your musicologist friends from days of yore. (The latter of which I did with my mentor from Boston and a Berlioz scholar who will go unnamed. Needless to say a microbrewery may not have been the best choice.) At first blush it seemed like the entourage I was a part of had no real ties to any of the schools that were receiving, thus all we could do was futz and be awkward until we shimmied over to the free food.

It turns out that something like half of the Iowa faculty has some connection to Florida State, and I actually ran into both of my undergraduate theory professors at the Eastman reception. This, I realize for future conferences, is more than enough to be able to proudly stride towards the free food. But all these other music bloggers that were clearly at the conference, didn't meet a one of them. But it turns out that I wouldn't have recognized Phil Ford anyway.

3) I am apparently more precocious than my forebears, by a considerable factor

Other musicologists writing about the event talk about finally asking a question after three years, where I think I waited three panels. Granted, I didn't go throwing down against Taruskin as concerns the Ballet Russes but I also didn't perceive a climate of fear. However this point led me to realize...

4) There is no expectation to be able to answer said questions.

Maybe I asked dumb questions, or was tacitly ignored because I'm not a bigshot, but those questions I did asked were barely addressed in even the most tangential sense of the term. However, with further observations those without my greenhorn status were getting very similar results. The batting average would have trouble staying on a double-A roster, shall we say.

That said, I didn't witness any throwdowns or utter evisceration. Perhaps I am actually misunderstanding the culture of the conference. Are questions not actually questions as much as suggestions for future improvement?

5) Even going to a lot of papers, it was scarcely a dry conference.

The papers went to alone discussed erections, The Shining (with footage of the naked chick), a band whose name I can barely speak (link NSFW, for serious), and the f-bomb. Nice.

All in all my first trip to the Lollapalooza of Musicology was good times. Now I'm wondering how this compares to some of the subgroup gatherings.