“I don’t regret doing so much music, but I regret broadcasting myself as a musician. I think a lot of people perceive me as just this person who plays instruments or likes music as opposed to an actual person who is good at many things. I love being known as a musician and I love myself, but I don’t love my perception from other people, like hearing them say, ‘Oh, you have to be perfect because you’re Jenna,’ or ‘Oh, I’m sure you did totally fine on your seating auditions. You’re Jenna, you probably can do it in your sleep.’ I make a lot of mistakes. Since I’ll never be perfect as a musician, the only way to actually get to perfection is to always be improving, to always be working toward something. I think so many people are fixated on titles and that sort of thing, and it’s helpful to just see that if you’re constantly improving, even if it’s really slowly, it’s a success.
Being a female in a male-dominated percussion section, for the most part, is both eye-opening and a little disappointing. It’s difficult to look up to people, especially famous musicians. With other instruments such as violin, there’s someone you can look up to since there’s more women. But the percussion section is mostly men, and while there are some famous women who are famous percussionists, in the percussionist community most people don’t really know them. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing a forge-your-own path sort of thing, even though so many people have done it before. I find myself, whenever I see a female role model, just like, swooning. I want to be that person for someone else.”
– Jenna Williamson, ’18