Music Matters: The Music Experience At UGA

People care a lot about sports, but don’t pay any attention to performing arts. 

Ian Jones, a recent UGA graduate that was a music major said, “I really do value music and it’s not pursued because I want to make money,” he said. “I’m pursuing it because I love it.” 

At most colleges, sports is the number one priority. Other programs besides sports become forgotten and not recognized as much as student athletes. Performing arts being one of them. Performing arts is a very competitive field and musicians don’t get the credit they deserve. 

“I feel like I have matured a lot because of music,” Jones said. “I’ve gained a lot of sensitivity and emotional input and output and it’s helped me become a better person.”

Jones spoke about how much he loved being at UGA and being a music major. He explained that it took a lot of practice and dedication to get into UGA’s music program. He also highlighted the challenges he has had to face in such a competitive field. 

“The social challenge [of being a music major] is people always asking what you are going to do with your career,” he said. “Musicians do gain a stigma that they are going to have a ‘poor person job.’”

Jones also underlined the struggles of being in the music world, while also having to be shadowed by UGA’s big sports presents.

“We definitely did not get the same quality or representation [in contrast to sports programs],” he said. “However, I do acknowledge that it is two different worlds that are occurring. You have the very artistic side of the campus versus the athletics.”

Some would agree that people support sports more than music programs which makes the UGA orchestra community underrepresented.

 Mark Cedel, the director of the orchestra at University of Georgia said, “This was something I couldn’t understand when I came here, coming to such a big university, a big football team where football is very important,” he added. “I wish we had more support for the arts.”

However, Cedel does not regret his decision to teach or direct orchestra at the university level. 

“I feel lucky being in academia,” Cedel said. “It’s always exciting seeing how they [students] react to a piece of music for the first time.” 

Cedel spoke on being a director at the University of Georgia and he expressed that he really loves his job and how much he loves orchestra.

“I love making music, bringing the music alive and studying it while figuring out what the composer wanted,” he said. “There is always room for interpretation and your own personal feeling.”

There are many positive attributes to being in a orchestra and UGA takes pride in working together to create music.

Laura Patterson, a first violinist in The Athens Orchestra commented,“I love getting to do something with other people that are fun and creative and brings joy to the audience.“We have fun playing music, but then in the performance, someone else gets to enjoy what we’re enjoying.”

Patterson went to UGA as a music major and she also played sousaphone for the Redcoats band. She explained that the redcoats were different from the orchestra ensemble because the orchestra was more pressure. She agreed that people do not support the arts as much as they support sports teams, but they supported the redcoats because they were connected to football. 

“People absolutely support the marching band on game days because they recognize that it’s a very important part of the game day experience.”

Patterson explained that she had a unique experience playing for both the orchestra and in the marching band. She explained how important it is to support the arts as a whole.

A great way to support local music is to show up to the events and give back to the programs.

 “Go to concerts for paid organizations, donate money if you have it, but then also support music in our schools,“ said Patterson. “If we don’t support music in our schools, then we won’t have musicians in the future.”

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