Meet CMP Senior Maria Siino
Maria Siino sits on the couch at the end of the main hall of Benildus, the combination Contemporary Music/Creative Writing building. Her pixie cut and devil-may-care style scream punk and so does her electric guitar. This senior CMP student is graduating in December, but the few months she has left to get ready for the big day are nothing compared to the more than 15 years of practice she’s been putting in with her music. “I started, like, guitar lessons and stuff when I was seven,” Siino says. “…but I didn’t really start getting better until later. So for a while I was kind of just plucking around.” After hitting high school, Siino stopped “plucking around” started getting more serious about her music. “I really liked Pink Floyd and that sort of, I think, made me realize that music was what I wanted to do.”
Growing up in the Bay Area of California, Siino was exposed to local groups and shows and became invested in the art outside of the hours of practice required of a musician. “I was trying to go to shows and be part of the scene in the Bay Area… so I could become more familiar with the community…” Siino says. “It wasn’t just, like, listening and playing, it was being a part of stuff.” She began developing her music more by starting a band and becoming more of a presence in the scene she was so interested in, but her interest in classic rock and punk put her against the grain for what’s expected of women musicians. “Women are only supposed to play acoustic guitar for some reason,” Siino said with an eye roll. “So I was like, ‘Fuck that! I’m not going to do that. I’m going to play electric guitar like all these dudes.’” It’s no surprise that one of her biggest inspirations is Joan Jett, a rock guitarist paving the way for women musicians.
As her time at SFUAD draws to a closer, Siino says that one of the aspects she appreciates most is the diversity of the music the Contemporary Music program offers as well as the variety of classes. “Here there’s all sorts of world music, there’s Western music, there’s music technology, music business, all sorts of classes for different things…” she says. “So it’s like a wide scope of stuff so I’m glad I have that scope of stuff at my disposal, I suppose.” After leaving SFUAD, Siino plans return home to the Bay Area, possibly for grad school. “I’d like to start a band back there too. But who knows?” she says with a shrug. She is working on completing an album before graduation and it is scheduled to come out at the end of this summer.