Open mic draws music students

Madeline S. Scharf News Editor

The sound of a piano greets students in the hallway outside of Garner Recital Hall. Upon entering, a trio playing jazz greets them to the Week of Welcome event, an open mic. 

Hosted by Week of Welcome and the music department, this open mic was a chance for students to learn more information about music majors and minors. But before Joshua Groffman, chairperson and associate professor of the music department, began a quick PowerPoint to go over this info, the trio played soft jazz for onlookers to enjoy.  

Music major Daniel Velne, a junior, was up playing on stage when students began to take their seats. Holding a white electric guitar, he keeps time with the drum and performers excellently. “I came to this open mic to play,” said Velne. “I work as a musician.” 

Once the trio concluded their piece, to a thunder of applause, Professor Groffman began an overview of information pertaining to music majors and minors. He describes upcoming events to look out for, and the office hours of the staff in the music department.  

After concluding his presentation, students begin to make their way on stage. A few slip behind the black piano and begin playing a classical piece while Velne sits down behind the drum set to play a bit.  

“This is really to celebrate being on ground,” said Groffman. “Of course, we are socially distanced, but now we are taking the opportunity to meet up.” Previously, many classes were online, and due to that, group ensembles were unable to meet. This open mic presentation affirmed that these programs would now be in-person, and that students were welcomed to sign up. 

This sign up for ensembles is not exclusive to music majors and minors, though. “Ensembles are open for everyone,” said Groffman, “I would say get permission from advisors and such, but it is open to all.” 

With many music events having previously been online, people were very excited for an in-person event. “Music can offer a sense of community,” said Groffman. “There is a huge diversity of music. From jazz, to classical, and more. Within music, you are never doing just one thing, you can express yourself in many ways.” 

The importance of music and its connections that it brings are not lost on people. According to Greater Good Magazine, “Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection.” Events that are music-based like this one thus offers a stronger sense of community and growth to those who attend them.  

The importance of music is also not lost on the students. Velne has big plans with music, both through the school and more. “I am trying to run a club where people of all skill and backgrounds can learn to play music,” said Velne. While the project is still in its infancy, that is not all in store for this music major. 

“I want a grant for this, large scale,” said Velne, “I am asking the government to help sponsor this outreach program.” Velne believes strongly about the connective power of music and wants it to be accessible to people of all backgrounds. This is still a developing story, and the information is subject to change.  

Students stood around the stage, talking, and listening to people play music. Catching up with classmates and professors, this event was a way for students to get to know more people and show off their musical talents in an on-campus event.  

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