From arias to arguments

Jemeyah Bagby ’20 explores her love of music and philosophy with a double major.

Jemeyah Bagby

Opera singer Jemeyah Bagby considered spending her college years at a music conservatory but wanted to pursue a major in philosophy as well as vocal performance.

Towson University allowed her to do both.

For Bagby, the two disciplines make a harmonious duet.

“Philosophy is thinking critically,” says the Baltimore County native. “I’m always thinking intellectually about music.”

Two majors can be a lot to balance, admits Bagby, who often carries an 18- or 19-credit load per term, but, she says, it’s possible because “my professors are very understanding. Both of my departments feel like family.”

With a series of TU mentors too long to list, Bagby feels supported enough to find time for campus engagement too. She is co-president of the TU Philosophy Forum, in which students meet weekly to share critical thinking on various topics in a discussion format. She also is a founding member of the TU chapter (Nu Delta) of Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity. Plus, Bagby has been a tutor in musicianship and music theory since sophomore year.

In a fitting capstone for her joint studies, Bagby hopes to do a cross-disciplinary senior thesis-recital or “lecture-recital,” combining her philosophy thesis and senior vocal recital. Last summer she attended the Feminist Summer Reading Program at Cornell. The program was an ideal environment to get a jump-start on this work because its theme was “Philosophy and Bodies,” which relates to her research interests.

After graduation, Bagby looks to become a master’s candidate in vocal performance and music studies with an eye toward a career in music performance and composition. But she’ll never stop being a critical thinker and is exploring ways to continue independent scholarship in philosophy too.

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