Experiences: Claire’s Senior Signature Project on Local Music

As part of her Senior Signature Project, Claire is writing music reviews for an online publication called The Owl Mag, which “offers daily music news, reviews, videos, and features about local artists, emerging/unsigned bands, independent DIYers, and those that have ‘MADE IT.’”

Her first published review looks at “Piedmont Girls,” Bay Area band Local Hero’s first single on their latest album, “From Timid To Timbuktu.” It was recently picked up by The Huffington Post as well!

Last year when then-senior Caity introduced Claire to The Owl Mag Editor in Chief, Julie, it got Claire thinking. “I’ve been interested in music for such a long time and I go see shows all the time, so I figured why not incorporate that into my senior project,” she says. Between keeping a music blog of her own “and doing some features, album reviews and show reviews for The Owl Mag,” she hopes “to encourage support of the local music industry and develop [her] skills for writing about music.”

“I’ve never really looked at music in an academic light,” she adds, “so I decided to combine the two and thought that was a cool way to do it.” And cool it is; “Now I’m kind of forced to reach outside my comfort zone and listen to music that I probably wouldn’t ever find otherwise,” Claire says.” I did a review this week on this band, Agent Ribbons. They were kind of a garage cabaret band, and it was interesting to see that – I didn’t even know that existed!”

The project, as all good projects should, also presents unique challenges. “I like writing, but I’ve never been the gung-ho, I’m-always-writing-creative-stories kind of person,” Claire says. “In a way, it’s kind of like academic writing because if you like something you have to support it with evidence, but it’s so different because you’re trying to turn music into words. I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be.”

But Claire’s endeavors have been well worth the effort. As she deepens her own understanding of and passion for music, she also aims to share the fruits of her labor with the community that has done so much to encourage her. She remembers her old school, where “no one seemed to be quite as inspired” as the peers she now knows, and how The Bay School community fanned the flames of her musical interests right from the start: “People would go see shows with me, and I had friends in bands; people were playing the guitar and jamming downstairs; it was super fun.”

Claire hopes that through her Senior Signature Project, she’ll be able to give back to the broader community as well. “I chose local music specifically because I think that San Francisco has such a vibrant music scene and it can be overwhelming to ask, ‘What do I go to? What can I listen to?’” Claire says. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how cool it is to go see a band in a bar or a small venue and see them grow; following a local band is just a really cool thing.”

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