School of Music, Theater, Dance, and Jams: U-M SMTD faculty have been compiling mixtapes during quarantine


Cassettes photo by Vova Krasilnikov from Pexels

Photo by Vova Krasilnikov from Pexels.

Late winter and early spring is usually a busy time for the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD). Students have started working on their final projects, music performances fill the auditoriums of the Earl V. Moore Building, and theater and dance events abound. 

But since the coronavirus pandemic shut down all activity, the SMTD started engaging its audience by offering livestreams of discussions, archived performances, and even yoga classes.

My favorite SMTD offerings are the faculty-compiled mixtapes on Spotify.

Every week an SMTD educator picks 10 to 15 songs and writes about the choices. Some write-ups are brief; others are more in-depth. But they are all reminders that Ann Arbor has some really smart people in its midst. Plus, the choices are all over the place, from psychedelic rock, jazz, and classical to hip-hop, choral, and video-game jams. There are even playlists dedicated to tunes that reference Shakespeare and a collection of songs mentioning hats. There's also a certain thrill when, say, the tuba teacher puts The B-52s and Chaka Khan on his list. (I know it's ignorant to think people associated with an instrument or style are wedded only to a certain genre or compositions that feature their music-makers, but it's still really cool to see the carillon professor dropping LL Cool J on her playlist.)

I won't embed any of the playlists here because I think the write-ups of these educators' mixes are an essential part of the experience.

So click here and find out which professor picked Black Flag for his mixtape,

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.