This is an improvisational piece inspired by my reflections on balancing my career ambitions with having children sometime in the future. I recorded the piano part first, and the additional instruments were added after listening to the first part once or twice. Each part builds upon and contributes to one another. No part of this piece has been written down.
A Sound Economy
Dana Maralason is a pianist and vocalist and is currently studying Music Composition at Mills College
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I have always said that I will not bring another child into this world if I cannot provide the life I would want for it: a stable home, a diverse and inspiring educational foundation, a creative outlet, and a secure future. I will not have a child unless I can be there for him or her as my mother was for me. My mother worked part-time, and she was always there in the mornings to make breakfast, to pick me up from school, to make me dinner, and tuck me in at night. Because of the days and nights my dad spent working, I was given a fine upbringing. I am certain they both sacrificed certain dreams and ambitions in order to create an inspiring and stable environment for me and my sister to grow up in.
It seems times have changed. More women are in professional careers, completing degrees of higher education, and competing in a more diverse economy. I am part of this change. I look to my future as I intend to create it--a career in the sound/recording industry, with additional hopes of creating projects and initiatives to see music and the arts placed solidly back in the educational programs of our schools.
I look at my hopes, and I wonder with all of this as my future, how does being a mother fit in? What sacrifices would have to be made? Would I choose to have my own child and devote my time to him or her? Or, would that time and energy serve a greater purpose if it were spent in the schools, in the recording studio? Would I bring music and expression to so many more children if I chose to not have my own?
To make a sacrifice. To sacrifice having my own child--such a basic longing, one that has been there my entire life--in order to serve the collective artistic expression of the many that I will meet and interact with and to inspire the voices that could fuel even morepositive change.
As my 30th birthday approaches and I see all that I intend to create in the next 5-10 years of my life, becoming a mother becomes less and less of a priority. Some days I am inspired by this very notion. Some days I am saddened by it. Some days I am angry by all the expectations put on women--have a successful career AND be a fantastic mom, as though adding to the centuries worth of cultural expectations of mother's and wives would not be compromised at all by adding a successful career to the mix. And of course, I am inspired by all the mothers who have managed to balance a career and motherhood.
"A Sound Economy" expresses this juxtaposition of emotion. Ultimately, as I step further down one path, another moves further and further away. Perhaps someday they will intersect. Perhaps they won't. Regardless, as long as I have the ability to create music--on the fly, as this piece was, or rehearsed endlessly to attain near perfection--I will be creating and contributing to life.
Dana Maralason - Vocals, piano, accordion, recording & mixing, Giselle Eastman - Clarinet, Edward Stumpp - Double Bass. Special thanks to Giselle Eastman and Ed Stumpp for contributing to the recording of this project.