Carrie Tipton is a musicologist. For six seasons, she hosted the book interview podcast Notes on Bach, and her work often touches on “a lot of things inside, outside, and adjacent to academia.” Carrie’s new book is From Dixie to Rocky Top: Music and Meaning in Southeastern Conference Fight Songs.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I started taking piano lessons at age three (my mom is a great pianist) and throughout my Music Ed degree and master’s in Piano Performance, I thought my professional future lay in that direction, as a collaborative pianist, church musician, and piano teacher, maybe with a DMA in Piano Pedagogy or Collaborative Piano. But during my master’s degree, I fell down the musicology rabbit hole and never dug myself out—I ended up getting a Ph.D. in it. (I worked as an archives assistant for many of my student years, which showed me that I loved working with historical materials and probably should have been an early clue.)
After graduation, I got a tenure-track musicology job, which I left after several years; since then I’ve done a lot of things inside, outside, and adjacent to academia. Currently I teach a course at Vanderbilt that grew out of my book on southern college fight songs and do some writing & editing, and I just finished working for a couple of Bach organizations for more than a decade combined. I have another potential work project simmering for next year that I’m waiting to hear more about, and I still do a little bit of church music professionally.