John Ahern is a sophomore at Stanford University studying music concentrating in music history. He loves the music of the Renaissance and is even nerdy enough to be occasionally found playing pipe organ and harpsichord. He also plays jazz piano and sings and plays in a small jazz ensemble. On the side, he does some programming, studies Latin, and enjoys the occasional book of theology. He intends to eventually pursue graduate degrees in musicology.
“I originally wanted to study improvised music in either the Chinese or Scottish instrumental tradition. It turned out, through various circumstances, I showed up at an Irish bar in Berkeley and instantly became fascinated with the Irish session and how the social dynamics interacted with the music. I’m not a fiddle player or a concertina player or a penny whistler or anything of that sort, so I’m insanely jealous and intend, in future, to pick up one of those instruments just so I can experience the session on the inside. Having taken Music Ethnography in the Bay Area, I’ve become acquainted with a set of techniques for a scholar that are almost entirely absent from the usual musicological training but which, I think, are indispensable and I plan on using them a lot in the future.”