St. John’s is known for its pharmacy program, business and law schools and competitive athletic teams. Though St. John’s is considerably well rounded, the University disappointingly falls short in the music department. The current music program at St. John’s is small, hidden, and needs expansion to accommodate students with musical interest and talent.
For many students, music is the outlet and passion they use to help deal with the ups and downs of life. St. John’s provides many resources for its students, but musical opportunity and practice space for student musicians on campus is not one of them.
For students wishing to learn how to play or practice the piano, opportunities are limited. There are only two pianos available across campus; one in the new D’Angelo Center (which was previously in Council Hall) and one in the basement of St. John’s Hall. The limited number of pianos on campus, the dearth of practice rooms and available instruction and the minimal resources available to musicians on campus is simply unacceptable.
And it’s not just pianos that the school is lacking. Musicians that play instruments such as guitars, violins and cellos are not getting their share of opportunity either.
There are no designated areas for students who bring their own instruments to come and practice, and almost zero instructional support from the University.
There is a pep band on campus, but, it is reserved for those who already know how to play their instrument and have had experience in high school. Students who wish to venture into playing an instrument, as a chance to try something new or just to improve their skill set, are unfortunately at a loss. The school jazz band is accessible, but seldomly get a spotlight on campus. As of now, the only classes offered in music are informational ones, such as the History of Jazz. It is high time that the tiny music program at St. John’s aspires to provide musical students with proper outlets to perform, practice and grow as musicians. Music needs a more practical application. Students would be much more inclined to take music classes as electives, and even majors, if given the chance. There are students currently on campus who do pursue their interests in piano and guitar in their rooms or outside of class. Recently, a new student band of freshmen played at one of Java Johnnie Coffeehouse events. All of these occurrences point to the fact that student interest in music is very much present and, unfortunately, unsatisfied.Music is what feeling sounds like. The feeling right now around campus is one of wanting to be able to play and express oneself through music and dedication. For those students who are inclined towards music, and for those who could be persuaded into taking up an instrument if they had the resources, it would be right for the University to provide a more homely and welcoming reception to St. John’s musicians.