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‘It feels like a family’: Music education students form band to perform at Rathskeller

Asha Blake
The Rathskeller is located in the basement of the Student Center.

Students in the Progressive and Vernacular Music Methods class will perform original songs and covers Thursday at their end of semester performance at the Rathskeller.

The band, which will perform under the name Friendship Bracelet, is composed of music education students from the voice, orchestra and band programs. The group will take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rathskeller located in the Student Center basement. Entry is free. 

Playing in the band has been an opportunity for the students to express themselves creatively while playing different instruments, junior music education major Mia Vela said.

“It’s a lot of creative freedom, a lot of freedom to just rock out and be yourself,” she said. “Your ears guide you the most.”

The band will perform a range of music genres, including indie, 80s and 90s hits and songs by Whitney Houston, Coldplay and the Goo Goo Dolls. 

The song selection was completely up to the students, music education professor Jay Dorfman said.

“Every aspect of the performance is about the students’ decisions,” he said. “They are fully invested in it.”

The class, which is required for music education majors, is all about learning to teach different styles of music, Dorfman said. 

“The idea is to prepare students for lots of different ways of teaching music when they graduate and also prepare them to lead the field in ways of making music that might be on the fringes or new, as opposed to the traditional ways of performing in schools, such as concert bands, orchestras and choirs,” he said. “In the class, we do things like rock band, we do performing on technological devices like iPads, we do learning to play and teach guitar, learning to play and teach ukulele.”

This provides more opportunities for students to get involved in music, Vela said. 

“It’s finding what students like and building upon that and teaching them things on instruments that they like,” she said. “It allows you to get more students that you never would expect to see in a classical or jazz program inside of a musical program where they are allowed to be more creative and free.”

Being in the class and preparing for the performance has been rewarding for Vela.

“A lot of the people that I’ve ended up in groups with I’ve known since my freshman year of college, and they’ve all been so wonderful,” she said. “It feels like a family, and I get the sense of community and belonging, especially when we start playing tunes or suggesting ideas.”

Grace Springer is managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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