Ithacranium is the IC Honors Program blog, created and edited by students. The blog, which originated as a newsletter in spring of 2010, is updated weekly with new and relevant content.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
My name is Brian Schmidt. I am a Violin Performance and Education major with a minor in Honors in my sophomore year. As a music major on campus, I spend the majority of my time in Whalen. I am a member of the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra (ICSO), Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra (ICCO), and Chorus. I hold a job at the Library of Ensemble Music and help run the TC lounge Open Mic night every Wednesday. I am also a member of a band comprised of 6 Ithaca College students including myself. The name of the band is “Second Dam”.
“Second Dam” sprouted from a project involving founding members K.c. Weston (Junior-Lead Vocals) and Kayla Sewell (Junior-Cello/Ukulele). They had contacted each other at the very start of their freshman year in the interest of creating and making music together. They met up and did exactly that. The two of them continued this through there freshman year. By the next year, they had more serious aspirations. The group solidified its current members in the spring of 2012. PJ Scott (Graduated-Bass Guitar), Zack Jones (Sophomore-Guitar), Andrew Weir (Sophomore-Drums), and myself (Sophomore-Violin) were the new additions to the band.
Through joining this band I have talked myself through some very pertinent issues involving me as both a music student and a student at the collegiate level.
The first issue relates to professor Bleicher’s honor’s seminar “Why are we here?” In today’s American society, success is connoted with a college education. But what does it mean to have a college education? Why do we come to college? Is it to learn or to experience? Some would argue that college should be about the learning with a healthy dosage of experience, while others would argue the opposite; that college should be about the experience with a healthy dosage of learning. These questions can’t be answered in a small blog post, but I can say that through being a part of “Second Dam” I have realized that college should absolutely be experienced to the fullest. I would argue that experience is learning, especially in the music world. I probably will not be exposed to such a high concentration of extremely talented musicians of varied stylistic backgrounds for quite a while, if not ever again. Because of that, I am going to take advantage of everything here at Ithaca College to the fullest. Through the band, I’m gaining real world experience of gigging, rehearsing, recording, networking, managing, and countless acts of shameless self-promotion (www.facebook.com/seconddam).
As of right now, Second Dam released It’s first five song EP September 15th and has gigged very frequently at local hotspots like “The Nines”, “The Haunt”, “Castaways”, “The Gates”…etc. It’s hard to describe the sound of our band to someone who has never heard us, but since iTunes needed a classification, we put our selves into the indie/alternative/folk category, even though that’s not really accurate. This leads me to my next issue.
As a Classically trained violinist, Alternative violin is quite a different road. It has a much different approach, and is not supported by as large of a community compared to a classical musicians’ community. If anything, being a part of this group has expanded my knowledge as a musician and made me a better violinist because of it. I definitely have struggled with the question of what should music means to me. The answer to this question is always changing, but my current take is that the music should be played for both the performer and listener equally. If either side becomes too selfish, the music becomes either very flashy, or the performer grows bored with performing such “simplicities”. There exists a middle ground between the two that I believe all musicians should acknowledge.
So far, my growth as a musician has grown immensely since I entered Ithaca College. I have experienced so much already, despite it only being my sophomore year. I am excited to continue my years here at Ithaca continuing to explore myself as both a musician and student.
Violinist - Ithaca College School of Music '15
B.M. Music Performance & Music Education
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