How to Put Your Musical Talents to Work in College

When one thinks of the college experience, their mind might drift toward images of fraternity members in togas, raging parties or spirited football games. However, if you put all those images aside, you might just hear music. From college marching bands to on-campus a cappella groups and student-run radio stations — music is as much a part of the college experience as pulling an all-nighter. Many colleges and universities offer music majors for students who have a passion for the art form. For those who choose to pursue a different area of study, but still wish to engage in melodic extracurricular activities, here are a few opportunities for individuals to partake in on campus.

  • Join a marching band: From televised parades to football games, college marching bands seem to get around. For many, seeing these young musicians move and play their instruments in unison is a highlight of going to a university sporting event. Baldwin Wallace College’s marching band is known as the Marching Yellow Jackets. On the Ohio-based school’s official website, the institution lists several reasons why students should join this ensemble. Members of the Marching Yellow Jackets have the opportunity to enhance their campus identity by joining this visible college entity, according to Baldwin Wallace’s website. In addition, this group nurtures students’ understanding and enjoyment of music. Individuals can assume roles as interns, band officers and section leaders while balancing their academic commitments. Many of these bands have gained a reputation beyond their campus, nationwide. For instance, Purdue University’s All American Marching Band uses the world’s largest bass drum, according to Meanwhile, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Minutemen Marching Band is known for only playing one main show each year.
  • Sing a cappella: Individuals who have a great voice but have never played an instrument in their life may want to look into joining collegiate a cappella ensembles. These singing groups are run and directed by students and rely on nothing other than their vocal chops. Most colleges and universities feature one or more a cappella groups. For instance, Brown University, Providence is home to The Brown Derbies, The Chatterstocks and ARRR!!! The Derbies is an all-male a cappella group that was founded in 1982 and sings in a variety of styles, from barbershop to rock, according to the ensemble’s official website. At 59 years of age, The Chatterstocks are Brown University’s oldest all female a cappella ensemble, states the group’s official website. The singing troupe’s name was a riff on the school’s all-male Jabberwocks. For those who prefer something a little different, ARRR!!! is Brown’s only a capirate musical ensemble. Founded in 1999, this group can be seen performing dressed as pirates and remain “an eternal force of mayhem and good will,” according to the troupe’s official website.
  • Become a DJ: If a student cannot sing or play an instrument, but still have a love for music, then they might want to head over to their college’s radio station where they can have their own program. For many music lovers, campus-based radio stations are famous for playing bands that have not yet become household names. The tunes played by these groups are what has come to be known as college rock or alternative rock. However, hosting a college radio show is more involved then simply signing up for airtime. As these broadcasts can be heard off campus as well, students may have to attend meetings, pass tests and meet other requirements before they get to spin their favorite records, according to eHow.

These are just a few musical options. Students can visit their college’s official website for an up-to-date listing of melodic opportunities.