Music class rocks

By Joe Lowery

Music influences many students’ lives at NIU. Whether it is the school band riling up a crowd or the guy down the hall jamming on his guitar, everyone has a style and an instrument of choice.

However, not everyone knows how to belt out a tune.

Luckily, NIU’s Community School of the Arts, located in the Music Building, provides classes that can help students develop skills with their instrument of choice.

The school offers many different classes for students including guitar, piano, jazz instruments and electronic and computer music. Program administrative assistant Renee Page said these classes are a good way for students to get involved with music, and also for students of music to get experience teaching.

“Teachers are generally graduate or undergraduate students in the music department, but we also get music teachers from other schools in the surrounding area,” Page said. “The program has a variety of price levels, and is available for anyone that is one to 80 years old.”

Classes include Group Guitar, Electronic and Computer Music Overview and Music and Computer Technology. Group Guitar classes focus on the basics of playing guitar such as learning chords and using a pick. The Electronic and Computer Music Overview and Music and Computer Technology classes focus more on how electronics and technology are used to produce music.

The Music and Computer Technology class focuses on music technology through the home computer and is taught by Mike Taylor, an NIU graduate with a master’s degree in computer music and new media technology.

“My main goal is to help students understand the basics of music technology,” Taylor said. “I try to give [students] a good grounding in some of the essentials that touch just about every type of music technology.”

The program also provides classes that focus on music ensembles.

Robert McIntosh, a graduate student studying physics, joined the Celtic band. The Celtic band utilizes such instruments as the fiddle, flute or whistle, harp, guitar, banjo and mandolin, and is just one of many ensembles provided by the program.

McIntosh said the classes were very helpful, and gave him a chance to interact with new people.

“It’s a good environment to learn in,” he said. “When everybody comes to class, you can tell they’re excited.”

Prices range from $15 to $90,however, most cost either $65 or $80.

The program offers a payment installment option for credit-card holders.