A typical week at school for me includes playing in music ensembles, having piano lessons with professors, performing in concerts, practicing, and also attending a lot fantastic concerts. That’s a pretty normal schedule for a music major, but did you know that any student can get involved in any of these activities? It’s one of the better kept secrets on campus, so I’m gonna give you the low-down on all the great ways you can involved with music at the U of A!
By far the easiest way to get your music fix on campus is attending the amazing concerts put on by the music department’s professors and students. There’s a huge variety of performances each year, including music for wind ensemble, orchestra, opera, string quartet, and more. Most of these concerts take place at Convocation Hall in the Old Arts Building on campus, and occasionally there will be performances at the beautiful Winspear Centre downtown too. Concert tickets are only $10 for students and can be bought at the door online through YEGlive, but there are also plenty of free concerts throughout the year as well. It can be a great way to spend a Saturday evening with some friends. Some of my favourite concerts so far this year have been La Belle Epoque and Three Centuries of Piano Trio Masterpieces. There’s also some fantastic upcoming concerts like The Company of Heaven: Britten at 100 and Beethoven’s Piano and Violin Sonatas. Check out the Department of Music’s calendar of events to find info about more than 100 performances happening this year at the U of A!
Play in an Ensemble
Did you ever play in your high school band? Take violin lessons growing up? Or maybe you’ve never touched an instrument before in your life but you’re itching to try something new? The U of A has something for you! There are 18 different ensembles ranging from a symphony orchestra, to a jazz band, to an Indian music ensemble. Some of the ensembles require an audition and can be competitive, but there are plenty of groups that are happy to accept novices with little to no experience. Any of these ensembles can also be taken for credit as well; they’re a great way switch up your class routine and take a break from lectures and library study sessions. I’ve personally been involved with Concert Choir and Chamber Music and have been able to perform in lots of amazing concerts both at Convocation Hall and at the Winspear Centre. Ensembles are also a great way to make friends. It can be tough to make connections with people in lectures, but in a close-knit ensemble of 10-20 people it’s a lot easier. Working with such inspirational conductors and talented classmates is also just an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. I’d highly encourage anyone who’s at all interested in music to give it a shot.
Join a Student Group
There’s also a huge variety of music focused student groups you can get involved with as well. The Musician’s Club is great if you’re looking for some fun jam sessions, or you can check out the U of A Mixed Chorus if you’re interested in a bigger group with lots of fun performance opportunities. There’s also several music groups that focus on community outreach. Through Heart of the City Piano Program I was able to teach piano lessons at inner city schools once a week. I’d highly recommend everyone to join some kind of student group on campus; there are tons of different options out there so you’re bound to find one that you’ll fall in love with. In addition to browsing through the student group website, a great way to find the right group for you would be to check out the Clubs Fair during the first week of school; all the student groups set up booths on campus and you can meet with current members to see what they’re all about.