Music: Northwestern’s music scene is sorely lacking

Laura Moreno

When my older sister returned from her first semester at UC-Santa Barbara, she shared stories about meeting new friends at record stores, escapades to Los Angeles for late-night shows and entire days devoted to jamming. She assured me that I would soon share that same sweet world of music upon entering college.

I was especially excited to attend Northwestern because the first associations that came to my mind were multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and the storied musical history of Chicago. I anticipated the campus to be saturated with music – from the sounds of practice rooms escaping outside to band t-shirts.

But in less than a year, I have to come to learn Northwestern and UC-Santa Barbara are entirely different schools with entirely different music cultures.

I had underestimated the strenuous hours students spend writing up papers in the library, studying for classes in Norris and power-napping in Tech. While I’m proud Northwestern is so solid in its academics, I also find it unnerving that students are deprived of the usually strong music scene of a college campus.

I dislike the guilt that instantly creeps through me when my fingers grasp the neck of my ukulele. And for every hour I devote to music, I have to devote another to sleep. I am not alone in this predicament. And when I was green with envy of the students who play the piano, trumpet, trombone or saxophone in the practice rooms, I realized that music for them is work.

Moreover, NU students are can’t take full advantage of the bevy of Chicago-area concerts because of transportation. Most undergraduates are without vehicles and the El can be sketchy at night. What’s more is that there are no solid venues in Evanston, and most good Chicago acts-like the Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza-don’t come around until summer anyway. With such an accumulation of inconveniences, it’s no wonder that Northwestern is not able to reach its music potential.

Consequently, it seems as though all NU students are imminently deprived of fully enjoying music the way it is meant to be enjoyed – spontaneously, freely, and together. Only recently have I found other students who are interested in sacrificing a few hours of sleep to jam together. There are too many talented musicians walking this campus without anyone knowing how great they can shred on the guitar, beat the hell out of the drums or grace the piano keys.

Musicians, for the sake of avoiding suffocation by boredom with all work and no play, show yourselves – with instrument in hand.

Laura Moreno is a Weinberg freshman and DAILY blogger. She can be reached at [email protected]