Student-Run Since '51

Magnificence of music

Edgar Rodriguez

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Floor-to-ceiling windows hide nothing in the Strahan Hall music room. Each day reveals music theory students clapping out rhythm, fledgling pianists in private lessons and college chorus singers harmonizing or just hanging out. Some evenings, community members in the local symphony and civic chorale arrive in mass to rehearse for shows, like the Feb. 13 Mardi Gras performance.
This room is open to all.
MCC Music Director Jan Philips teaches a variety of classes in the Music Room, including music appreciation, theory, piano and chorus, alongside other instructors who give vocal and instrumental lessons.
The largest class in the room is chorus. “They do two shows a semester, so we practice three times a week to keep in top form.” As a result, the MCC chorus is invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York at the Two-year College Festival, April 8-12.
It is one of the most popular electives.
“Our chorus singing is one of the first sights people see while taking a tour of Strahan Hall,” along with constant traffic going in and out of the room.
All classes in the Music Room are electives open to everyone, she said. Only the Variety Singers class requires an audition and has a limited roster.
The Civic Choral and Muscatine Symphony Orchestra practice weekly in the evenings and are made up of people from in the community. “Ninety-five percent aren’t even MCC students. We even have some high schoolers participating in those ensembles.”
Even those too intimidated to pick up an instrument are welcome. Many of the people who sign up were in high school band, or are self-taught. But even those who have never touched a piano or guitar before are taking the applied instrumental class.
Weekly private lessons are available for brass, wind, stringed, piano and drums for those who have their own instruments. “A half-hour lesson weekly is not enough to learn or improve a technique,” she said. An exception to the rule is piano, because two practice rooms with a piano are available almost any time.
Piano and guitar seem to be the most popular instruments at the moment, but others are available. ”If you would like to play a certain instrument, it is my job to find a qualified instructor to teach you,” Philips said.
“We have currently some fabulous instructors for guitar piano, trumpet, violin, flute and drums,” she said. A drum kit is available, too.
The Music Room is rarely empty. Chorus members like to spend free time in between classes having
fun, talking and doing homework.
First year student Kimi Adasme, has been in Chorus and Variety singers since fall of 2015. “ I joined because I wanted to do something related to music and would like to major in music.”
She finds herself in the Music Room on a weekly basis. “The reason I like the music room is the Library is a quiet environment, but I like to be loud and talk. Plus the sofas are very comfy.”

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Student-Run Since '51
Magnificence of music