How AU students are staying grounded with music this fall
Through playing instruments, listening while studying or curating new playlists, students rely on music to adapt to this year
The year 2020 has not been easy by any means. We have had to adjust to online school, stay in our houses for months on end and cancel vacations and plans. But what is the one thing that has remained constant? Music.
No matter where we are or how we are feeling, music can provide a safe haven. It is refreshing to turn on Spotify and tune out the world for just a few minutes. Whether American University students prefer rap, rock or country, music gives meaning to our lives and makes every day a little brighter.
Alex Grossman, a freshman journalism major, incorporates music into his daily life by listening to Spotify while he works on homework or studies.
“Listening to music has definitely helped make monotonous tasks feel less monotonous,” Grossman said.
Not only does music play in the background, it is a long-time hobby for Grossman, who has been singing for four years and recently picked up the guitar. The relaxing mood that accompanies music is what draws him to this pastime.
For other AU students, music is a way to get involved on campus, even when they are not there in person. Bennett Thompson, a freshman CLEG major, works as a DJ for WVAU, AU’s student-run radio station, keeping up with the latest albums and creating weekly playlists. Thompson has always been interested in working for WVAU, and they were inspired by their own local college radio station.
They find the process of organizing playlists rewarding as these collections of favorite songs can then be shared with a wider audience.
“I just like sharing music,” Thompson said. “I like having a platform to say ‘Hey, here’s music and it’s good,’ and that makes me feel smart and sophisticated.”
Although Thompson spends hours listening to new albums to broaden their taste in music, they said they enjoy indie in particular because they’ve listened to that genre the most and have an appreciation for it.
But music is more than the lyrics or instrumentals; Thompson has been able to make indie music a “part of [their] identity,” as different styles of music say something about the listener. The choices in our music also have the ability to change the atmosphere around us and influence our moods.
“If I’m doing a really long essay, and I’m listening to really upbeat music, it gets me more motivated,” said Fabiola Cruz, a freshman School of International Service major. “If I’m working on a test that I really don’t want to be doing, I’ll listen to sad music [and] I’m like, ‘Wow, I really don’t want to be here right now.’”
Cruz prefers “bedroom pop,” a genre in which the band or artist records music from home, rather than in a studio, and artists like Clairo and Lana Del Rey. The appeal of bedroom pop stems from its unedited quality; it is possible to hear any mistakes or imperfections in the recordings, which can feel more genuine for fans.
Whether AU students are listening to music, playing an instrument or sharing their favorite songs through a radio station, music helps them power through a time of great uncertainty.