We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennie Rhodes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I gave up on the idea of work life balance a long time ago! It never looked like a 2 sided balance scale to begin with. An ever-evolving, matrix-like, three dimensional venn diagram was more like it. I much prefer the analogy of the jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand. Put the rocks in first (the most important things), and then any pebbles and sand that fit in are great.
As a “musicpreneur,” I’ve greatly appreciated being able to dial my work up or down as needed over the years. Just out of grad school, I had all kinds of irons in the fire. As I started my family, I took the few projects that were most doable with young children and helped me maintain my skill set. Now that my family is growing up a bit, I’ve pivoted towards work and clients that keep me busy while my kids are in school.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a violinist, teacher, and composer. I believe everyone can take joy in creating things. As a performer, I hope to create spaces where audiences feel the music even more than they hear it. When I teach, I want my students to realize what a beautiful thing it is to create and share music themselves. I intend the music I write to help other people create these kinds of experiences with their audiences and their students.
My main performing group is Salonnières, a trio of soprano, violin, and piano that creates intimate, themed concert experiences where audiences are close to the performers and can interact with us and each other. My teaching studio consists mostly of advanced high schoolers, and I’m in the process of creating a program for adult violin students. Most of my compositions available for purchase are functional, flexible pieces designed with specific performance purposes in mind, and the catalog is about half secular, half sacred music.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For an outdoor day, I’d start with an early morning kayak run on the Salt River. Snag lunch at Backyard Taco, then head to either the Desert Botanical Gardens or Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Learning to love the plant life in the valley was one of the things that helped me learn to love living here!
The Heard Museum with a stop to the Fry Bread House afterwards is always a win for a short day trip.
I’d look up my fellow musicians’ performance calendars to see who was performing: Tetra String Quartet, Downtown Chamber Music, Zazu West, Salt River Brass, Mill Creek Players, Paradise Winds, They’re all great, and they perform in venues all over the valley.
But no matter what, we absolutely must make a stop at Mijana’s for Lebanese food. Get the Beirut Special!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Salonnières! I’ve performed in this trio (soprano, violin, piano) for 8 years with Dr. Karali Hunter and Jamie Alston. It’s been a source of motivation, support, “idea stewing,” and skill building. We dive deep into how music, story telling, and setting help audiences feel deeply connected with music, the performers, and each other during a concert. It’s also been a place for my more administrative skill set to expand: marketing, graphic design, web design, audio and video editing, contracts, bookings, public speaking, finance, and outreach. All of these skills have carried over into my personal business. And of course, there’s nothing like working regularly with super talented and trained fellow performers who kept my playing sharp and joy of music-making alive!
Kendyl Hawkins, Meredith Evans, Jamie Alston