Palo Alto rocks with musical opportunities

By Franklin Alvarez
Pulse Staff Reporter

Bassist and Psychology Major Juan Luna performing at the White Rabbit Photo by Carlos Camargo
Bassist and Psychology Major Juan Luna performing at the White Rabbit Photo by Carlos Camargo

Students involved with bands benefit from doing what they love even though it can be tough at times balancing music, school and sometimes work.

Students in bands who have performed for an audience generally have more confidence involving social situations at school.

Bassist Juan Luna of local band Silent Minority said, "I used to be really shy. I probably would not have agreed to do this interview if it wasn't for the shows that I've done with my band, and the crowds we play for."

He also mentioned that being in a band and going to school full time at Palo Alto is manageable for him, although requesting time off from his job proves to be difficult.

Darren Anguiano, student at Palo Alto and lead guitarist for My City Underwater, faces the same problem at his part-time job. "At work, I have to request days off two weeks in advance, so if we get offered a show on short notice, I just have to hope I have off that day or I can't do the show," he said. "We just try to book our shows in enough time."

Performing on stage helps some students select a major, which can be very difficult. The average college student will change his or her major at least once before coming to a decision. For some musicians, performing has influenced them socially and academically.

"Performing definitely helped me pick my major," said Communications Major Jennifer Cavazos, vocalist of Kevin Goes to College. "Communications has helped me to learn more about performing on stage, as well as talking to our fans."

On the other hand, performing for people doesn't necessarily make everyone feel comfortable in a school setting.

Performing is a lot easier than stepping to the front of the classroom. "I like the feeling of being praised when I perform," said Daisy Garcia, a mariachi violinist. "Even after performing many times, I still get very nervous standing in front of the classroom. When I play, it's like I'm someone else."

Money management is important when it comes to tuition and paying for musical equipment. Professional equipment is not cheap and choosing to save money for tuition and musical gear is sometimes difficult. "I'm still paying off equipment I got two years ago." said Anguiano. Being in a band requires dedication, time and money.

Students who play in a band have a duty to not only fulfill the needs and schedule of school but also make extra time for practicing, performing and writing new music.

Music requires dedication from anyone wanting to succeed as a performer. Even from an early age, musicians have to devote time to learn playing an instrument or singing.

Anguiano was inspired to play music from listening to his favorite bands in high school. "Bands that influenced me were I Killed the Prom Queen, The Red Shore, CoLab… I could be here all day telling you," laughed Anguiano.

Musicians like Luna, Anguiano and Cavazos have been playing music since high school, usually allowing them to have time to experience learning different instruments as they progress.

Luna played various instruments in his band before falling into the bass position. "No one really ever wants to play bass, so I decided to," he said.

Participating in music can be done at even younger ages.

For some musicians, music has been a part of their lives longer than the thought of attending college. Daisy Garcia, 20, has been playing and learning mariachi music since the fifth grade.

"I didn't like it at first, but it grew on me as I did it year after year. I enjoy it now more than ever," said Garcia.

Some easy ways musicians keep themselves involved in school is finding ways to bring the enjoyment of music to the classroom. As a young student in band, there are plenty of school events and school games to play your instrument, but as a musician in college, festivals like PACfest and performances in the Student Center allow for students and teachers to enjoy performances from fellow Palominos.

Palo Alto also offers classes like piano, keyboard and jazz ensemble for students wanting to learn to play an instrument and explore music. These classes are perfect for students who didn't have that chance to play instruments in high school, or just want to keep playing an instrument in college.

It can be tough, but attending college and being in a band is manageable. Doing what you love and benefiting from it is very rewarding.

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