Music Performance Alumna Pursues Love of Music History as Music Cataloging and Metadata Librarian
Honors Program student Blaine Brubaker graduated from Seton Hill University with a degree in music performance. After discovering a passion for music history at Seton Hill, Blaine decided to pursue two masters degrees at the University of North Texas. Following graduation, she was offered a position at the UNT Music Library and now works as Music Cataloging and Metadata Librarian. We recently talked with Blaine about how her undergraduate studies as a music performance major helped prepare her for her current position.
What made you want to major in music performance?
I decided I wanted to major in music performance when I was a sophomore in high school. I loved playing the trombone. It did not take long into my high school career to know that being involved in music in some way was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Performing on your instrument can be such as rush! My ultimate goal as an undergraduate music major was to be an accomplished performing trombonist.
Why did you choose Seton Hill University for your undergraduate degree?
When I first visited Seton Hill University in my junior year, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. The professors in the music department at Seton Hill are amazing. Being at a smaller school was also a huge pull. There is not as much personalized attention at larger music schools compared to a school like Seton Hill.
How did you go from majoring in music performance to a career in music history and cataloging?
By my spring semester of my junior year of undergrad, I realized I might not want to be a performer as much as I did in the past. As much as I loved performing, my music history, world music, and jazz history courses made me realize I wanted to explore that side of music more. When I did decide to go down a different path, my professors at Seton Hill switched gears along with me to help me succeed, providing me with advice and support. I will never forget how they supported me. I would certainly not be where I am today without them.
"When I did decide to go down a different path, my professors at Seton Hill switched gears along with me to help me succeed, providing me with advice and support. I will never forget how they supported me. I would certainly not be where I am today without them."
Can you give me a brief timeline after you graduated from Seton Hill?
I graduated from Seton Hill with a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance in May 2017. In August, I moved to Denton, Texas to simultaneously pursue two master’s degrees at the University of North Texas: a Master of Arts in Music, concentrating in Historical Musicology, and a Master of Science in Library Science, concentrating in Music Librarianship. I graduated with my M.A. in August 2019 and with my M.S.L.S in May 2020. While earning my two master’s degrees, I worked at the Music Library at UNT. In November 2021, I was hired into my current position as Music Cataloging and Metadata Librarian.
Can you tell me more about your current career as a Music Cataloging and Metadata Librarian at the University of North Texas Music Library?
As the name suggests, I have two primary roles: cataloging and creating metadata. When physical music materials arrive at the UNT Music Library, they go through a several step process before they are accessible to library patrons. One of those steps is cataloging. Cataloging allows librarians to prepare an item for the library shelves and also allows library patrons to locate the items on the online library catalog. The physical items I catalog the most are scores, CDs, vinyl, and DVDs. They can range in style and genre: classical music, popular music, world music, etc. My specialty is cataloging the music materials in Japanese and Korean. Creating metadata is similar to cataloging—one describes an object in a specialized manner on the computer for people to find online. AT UNT, we specifically create metadata for our digital content.
How did your education at Seton Hill prepare you for your current career?
My general music courses have helped me significantly, especially my music history courses. I also participated in many different ensembles while I was at Seton Hill. Being in those ensembles enforced discipline, collaboration, and a well-rounded knowledge in different repertories and instrumental and vocal pedagogies. This knowledge has served me well when cataloging as I recognize music I performed and know how to catalog music so patrons who need it can find it easily. This position allows me to use my education in music and library science every day.