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Heather Dea Jennings

How would you describe your music?

Highly ecclectic- I compose classical, experimental, jazz and pop. I perform the same as well as Javanese Gamelan music and Hindustani Khyal.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I am not currently in a band, but in the next band I have, I will be the leader. I usually record my own music myself in the studio. I also make my own business and marketing decisions.

Describe your gear.

Sonaré flute, Novation ReMOTE keyboard controller, AKAI EWI, MacBook Pro with Pro-tools M-Powered, MOTU digidesign, Reason, Native Instruments Komplete/Kore 5.0, Finale 2010, Sibelius 6.0, , two Shure KSM-32 microphones, 1 Avantone Microphone, 2 Shure SM-58 microphones, M-audio microtrack, M-audio keyboard controller, M-audio firewire solo, M-audio fast-track pro, Apogee, Yamaha SY77 and TG77 keyboard/module, flutes and percussion from various cultures, didgeridoo, tamboura

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

I have been very fortunate in that, for the most part, my gender has not affected how I grew and grow as a musician. I have seen a lot of bias against women, however, and I also have noticed that the world over, men are the majority in most university courses.

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I think that today's women have many, many more opportunities, but still have a long ways to go. I can think specifically of the practices in Vienna of excluding women in their orchestras until very recently, it is a great advance that we women have that option if we choose that route. However, Marion Alsap's post as conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was hard-fought, and she was almost rejected. This shows how much more we have to go to get more balance in all of our musical areas.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

As a college-educated musician, I received a lot of advice. I would say to any young musician, regardless of their gender that they study music from various angles, really get to know, intimately, a large amount of scores and recordings from all parts of the world. I would also say to compose, even if at a rudimentary level. I prefer not to give gender-specific advice, instead focusing on getting more women into higher-level music programs, and changing men-driven music hierarchies.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

When I was a child, I always had an affinity towards music, and one day as a 7-year-old, I picked up my mom's flute and taught myself how to play. When I started to learn how to sing, I was in choir in junior-high, and I enjoyed it so much, I decided to continue.

Related Themes: The First Time