Frustrated music students air concerns

Music organizations hold a forum to discuss issues in the music department. Photo courtesy, Jadon Roberts.

Five music organizations at Florida A&M came together in a forum Wednesday to discuss issues in the music department with representatives from the Student Government Association.

These organizations represent students in the acclaimed Marching 100 and prominent musicians throughout the music department.

Both non-music majors and aspiring musicians voiced major concerns and identified problems they face in all facets to the SGA representatives. For many, this is not the first time these issues have been brought up.

Music majors from all backgrounds voiced their opinions on issues in the music department, including the inability to utilize facilities when requested and approved, lack of career-building resources and necessary tools for the success of all music students.

Hasim Smith, a third-year music industry transfer from Hampton University, discussed his ability to retain a competent program through access to the appropriate equipment needed to become successful.

“In this room, in this school, there’s so much musical talent. Just imagine if we had a recording class to learn how to record people; I live in Atlanta. Every studio needs a good sound engineer. That’s a job out of the gate for music students. That’s why this stuff is so important,” Smith said. “I really do hope this is taken seriously and something happens because if people are still this willing to come here and major in music as it is, it would be prosperous if some of these improvements were made.”

Lindsey B. Sarjeant, chair of the music department, said students would see changes in the upcoming school year.

“Thanks to the CARE’s Act, we are making $1.2 million upgrades for all of our recording studios,” Sarjeant said. “It’s important that the students utilize the tools that we give them.”

Issues discussed by the fourth-year student leaders of the marching band include the inability to shower before returning to Tallahassee after they take road trips. This was demonstrated after playing for hours and performing a halftime show at the annual Florida Classic in Orlando. The Marching 100 also most recently performed at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Texas.

Both times band members were not able to spend an extra night after notable performances.

Jadon Roberts, a fourth-year biology pre-med major and drum major, went into more detail about the band trips.

“Our treatment on trips since I’ve been here hasn’t been the best,” Roberts said. “There’s never really an opportunity to get adequate rest, nutrition; most of our meals on the trips are received in a box, cold, and received on the bus.”

Many band members at the Foster Tanner band room forum agreed and elaborated on other struggles students faced on facilitated trips. Students believe their time and dedication toward representing the university should deem more support from the administration as a whole.

SGA Senate President Zachary Bell assured the students that their voices would not go unheard by SGA.

“Speaking on behalf of Student Government Associations and Student Senate, we want to be you guys’ champions,” Bell said. “I was voted in to be an advocate; I’m really going to try to come out with tangible results for you. It just takes a seed and time for it to grow.”

Students listen attentively as representatives speak. Photo courtesy, Kalea Sanders.