A friend of mine was recently brainstorming with me, trying to find funding for a project that would create opportunities for artists and educators in Alaska. I was only seeing one solution set when he asked a helpful question. He started off “How might we…”
Those three words can be powerful. How asks for nuts and bolts, might invites creativity, and we implies teamwork and support. My friend could have said “Let’s step back…” or “I don’t think we should forget…” but instead he offered an invitation to open-ended, creative collaboration.
The magic of his invitation didn’t lie in the words themselves. Their power came from the person who asked. His restatement of my own goals – that is, the words he said after “how might we…” – showed that he had listened and understood. Whatever the fate of my project might be, I’ll remember his question.
Our brainstorming session was recent, but this blog is already several months old. Since the end of last summer, we have published perspectives, narratives, and reports on music in Alaska. Next up is a mini-series of Alaskan musical exports–sounds created in Alaska and performed around the world. After that, we would like to write about your suggestions. We're looking for both topics and guest authors in the months ahead.
What are your goals for music in Alaska? How might we achieve them?
If there’s an area of Alaskan music you’d like to know more about, please let us know. If you have something to share, we’d love to hear about it and perhaps connect you with like-minded people.
We’re all ears.
Michael Dickerson is an Anchorage composer, writer, and educator. He is a board member at Northern Culture Exchange and a recipient of the 2020 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award and the 2021 Connie Boochever Award.