North Carolina Ghosts and Legends

Always a Good Time

Most young musicians live the paradox that hard work can be fun and rewarding in an of itself. By the time they become professionals, however, many are jaded and disillusioned. This is not a character flaw, but a direct result of a musical establishment that systematically takes the joy out of music for those who dedicate their lives to it. Jaemi is committed to being a part of the solution by insisting on having a good time.

Having spent much of her life performing in any ensemble that would have her, Jaemi knows what it feels like to be on the other side of the podium. She treats the players she conducts with respect and warmth. A genuinely social person, she enjoys spending time with players outside of rehearsal and maintains close personal relationships with professional musicians of many varieties. These relationships help her to stay in touch with the needs and complaints of players, enabling her lead more effectively from the podium. Whenever possible, she includes social elements like dinner or snacks into rehearsals and always makes an effort to get to know the players she works with, even if their time together is short. Though socializing with players is not comfortable for all conductors, it is an important element of Jaemi's leadership style.

Jaemi leads collaboratively. She respects the players she works with as people and artists. Reliable players are trusted to shape their own parts, where appropriate, and those that need a little extra guidance always find it. Though she always comes to rehearsal with strong ideas about a piece, she remains open to other interpretations and gives players the freedom to experiment. She tries to empower players to make musical decisions, but always offers firm direction when necessary. This style of leadership extends to administrative matters as well. As an experienced ensemble administrator in all areas, Jaemi knows how to keep an ensemble running well. She recruits resourceful, smart people to join her and gives them as much responsibility as they can effectively manage. Focusing on clear communication, Jaemi always lets her colleagues know what is needed and ensures that tasks are completed. As she does on the podium, she strives to empower her colleagues to take ownership of their tasks, allowing her to lead without micromanaging.

Collaborative leadership on and off the podium requires trust, respect, and goodwill, not a sense of absolute authority. By treating performers as people and socializing when appropriate, Jaemi develops relationships with them that create that trust, respect, and goodwill. Her authority on the podium is a comfortable and natural one, based on something like a social contract rather than the traditionally dictatorial model. Her relationship with performers helps Jaemi to pace rehearsals (since it heightens her ability to see when people are getting bored or frustrated), program repertoire (since she knows what people will get excited about), and keep the general mood of the rehearsal pleasant even when the musical going is rough (since she knows how to make people laugh).

Making music with Jaemi is social, exciting, artistically and emotionally fulfilling, and always a good time.