In a time of isolation, student musicians spread hope and human connection
March 19, 2021
In an atmosphere of isolation and struggle, SIU student musicians have found ways to continue their music careers while spreading hope and community.
One major way these students have made an impact is by teaching one-on-one music lessons, which offer students a more personalized curriculum that would not be present in a group lesson. Private lessons allow music education majors to get real-world experience, make income to support their education and share their love of the art with children and other beginners.
Joshua Buss, a junior music education major at SIU, is offering guitar lessons to students with any level of experience. He said he believes music should be very goal-oriented and he likes to adapt his curriculum to the unique skill sets of each student.
“The first lesson that I do is I wanna talk about their goals, what they want to achieve. I want to see what they know, what they don’t know and then adjust from there to give them the best experience possible,” Buss said.
Riley Herron, another music education major, fulfills his music passion by teaching trombone. He has been teaching lessons through the SIU Conservatory for a year and a half and said it has been difficult to teach and learn during the pandemic.
“When teaching, it is very difficult to educate students on the finer aspects of music without giving them the hands-on experience that would have happened pre-pandemic, but after some time I was able to find ways to cope with these difficulties and see progress with my teaching,” Herron said.
In addition to teaching, music students are also sharing their talents by playing together in groups and hosting performances. Alexander Gerdes, who is studying music business and Angelica Barragan, a student of communication disorders and sciences, are both part of the RSO Musicians United.
Although Barragan is not a music major, she still believes in the importance of the arts in school and said it relates to her studies in science a lot more than people realize.
“I think there’s a negative connotation in society that suggests people who study art are merely throwing their life away,” Barragan said. “But in actuality, it is through art that students and people are able to live and experience life. It is so important for schools to incorporate all forms of art.”
Barragan also sees music as a form of universal language allowing people to connect during a time period devoid of connection.
“Music has always been a form of communication that everyone is able to understand. There is something so bizarre about some artist or one band putting out a song about their own feelings and countless people being able to generalize those emotions to themselves,” Barragan said.
Gerdes agrees that music is an essential part of education and communication, and he also views live music as a necessary part of a happy community.
“I feel like live music especially is something that brings a lot of people together for a few hours to enjoy themselves, and to have that taken away feels so restricting, like we can’t do anything fun or go out anywhere,” Gerdes said. “Which makes me feel like the impact of taking away that aspect of music is more devastating than we think.”
Joshua Buss teaches electric, acoustic and classical guitar and can be contacted regarding lessons at 636-575-0081.
Musicians United will be performing outside the Student Services building April 8 and at Hangar 9 April 17.
Staff reporter Elena Schauwecker can be reached at [email protected]
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