Life of a Musician

By: Stephanie Sokol

Members of the music program spend a lot of time on practicing, music method work and studying, but the experience provides rewards and knowledge unattainable in any other way.

Oakland University sophomore music major Jaleel Williams waits backstage at Varner Hall for his turn to perform at Arts at Noon. As he walks onstage, he bows in response to applause, tunes with the piano and begins his solo.

“Arts at Noon gives me a chance to showcase what I’ve learned in the short amount of time that I’ve had to prepare my solo,” Williams said. “It’s a chance to make music for an audience. It doesn’t matter if I miss a note or not, as long as I am able to draw my listener in.”

For musicians, a song can be many things.  An outlet for self expression; a way to speak one’s mind or stand out in the crowd; an escape from reality. Student musicians lead busy lives, but their music-making brings people together and makes life worthwhile.

While the schedule is busy, from technique lessons to theory courses and required concerts, according to the students, rewards in music are plentiful.

Many students give lessons to younger musicians, a chance to share their own knowledge and gain teaching experience.

The students also entertain and improve lives through melody by having concerts. There are many other ways to help people through music, whether it be through entertainment, education or therapy.

“I’m really passionate about music because it’s my way of expressing myself,” sophomore music education major Maria Suvak said. “When I have a hard time explaining what I want to in words, I have another outlet. I’m particularly passionate about music education because I believe music truly impacts people’s lives in positive ways.”

Both music education and performance involve interaction between groups of people. According to students, the time spent preparing music and sharing it requires cooperation and patience to reach the end result, but the result can impact many lives.

“Music is a language that everyone speaks,” sophomore music education major Josh Nuss said. “It transcends boundaries and borders and brings the world closer together. Just as I love music, I also love sharing my passion with others. A job in which you open others’ eyes and ears to the wonderful world of music is truly the greatest job on the planet.”

About Me

I am a student at Oakland University, studying Journalism and Music. I play clarinet and piano when I’m not taking photos, finding new bands or writing my fashion blog.

This project is a reflection of the OU musicians’ lives and their extensive time in the music building Varner Hall. Through the photos, I took the audience into the life of a musician, to reveal both the stress and rewards this life entails.

I am involved in the program and know how much work and time is put into being a music major. These students spend many hours in Varner each week, whether practicing, studying theory, or even attending required events.

While at times it gets overwhelming, music has a power that nothing else has. Musicians are very passionate people, and put an immense amount of thought and time into everything they do, which shows in this photo essay.

Through my project, I want the audience to experience and appreciate the hard work these students put into their music careers. I want to reveal the students’ zeal for music despite stress and situation.

Music has many powers. It works as an escape, brings people together and heals the soul. These photos show the impact of music.

“The music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.” (August Rush, film, 2007)

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