Maya Polsky

photo of Maya Polsky



Honors in Music Thesis:

Miles of String

This record is a balancing act: clear melodies and surprising harmonies, twisting words and ringing strums, wiggly synths and acoustic drums. Growing up with a guitar by my side, the instrument became a gateway for music to flow into and out of me. Guitar taught me how to hear, collapsing everything, from folk songs to symphonies, into something I can hold in my head and my hands. It’s also the easiest way for my imagination to talk. I can listen to a song, learn it on guitar, mix the musical moments that scratched at something in me with the sound my radiator makes, or maybe the way it feels to sit by the lake, and then let it all flow back out through the amplifier. This project is a tribute to that practice: noticing a moment, a feeling, a note, a phrase, stitching it together with what I’ve noticed before, and making something that’s both bigger and smaller than its parts. Coming to songwriting as a jazz musician, I’m deeply inspired by the experimental, instrument-centric spirit of the 60s and 70s. I try to bring that playful energy to my music through unexpected choices in both the recording and production processes in balance with more familiar choices. I want listeners to feel both held and pushed; I hope these songs tug at the edges of the sounds you’re used to hearing.

Album liner notes available here.

Personal Statement:

Inspired by listening to classic rock on long car rides, Maya picked up the guitar at five and quickly fell in love with the instrument. At Brown, she has been an active member of jazz combos, scored numerous student films, produced and engineered projects for other students, and performed in student bands. More recently, she has completed two larger projects as a composer and producer. In February, she premiered Play Space at the Granoff Center, a collection of music she co-wrote with collaborator Ben West for duo guitars and chamber ensembles inspired by real and imaginary landscapes. In April, she completed Mile of String, a thesis album of original songs that merge her jazz guitar training with more modern songwriting and production techniques. After graduation, she hopes to develop a career in composition and production and to build a strong musical community.

Department Note: Maya is walking in spring 2022 but will complete her studies in the fall of 2022. This page may be updated to include new details/media from her project.

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