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Carson Elias


June 1, 2016

Playing in the Drexel University music ensembles has been probably the most influential component of my time here at Drexel.  Between the Concert, Jazz, Jazztet, Fusion, and Pep Bands, playing in the university ensembles has been a staple in both my academic and social careers.  For the past five years, I have been pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in which I have had to endure a vast array of academic challenges and have had to devote countless hours problem solving.  Fortunately, the music ensembles that I am a part of allow me to take a mental break from the daily grind, reset my bearings on what I am trying to accomplish in my academic career as well as provide me with an activity that I enjoy where I can practice the universal art that is music. 

I think what is the most unique about the Drexel University ensembles is that the students that make up these bands are not music majors, but are students in many different fields of study, from nursing to engineering, myself included.  With this structure, there is more opportunity within each ensemble to play different parts and arrangements without worrying about who the instrument chair in front or behind you is and how well they play – everyone who plays in the ensembles here plays because they love music, and I think that I have thrived off of that mentality these past five years.  With that in mind, I have had the great opportunity of being able to play almost every day and develop my own skills as a musician and branch out into the musical community here in Philadelphia.  Another bonus about playing in these ensembles is how Drexel is able to provide some amount of financial compensation to the musicians that are in these groups, something that a lot of other schools cannot offer.  Maintaining these scholarships through the Drexel ensembles has been helpful in keeping me focused in both my engineering studies and my musical skill. 

It is hard to put into words how much I am thankful for playing in these ensembles, equally as hard to estimate how much time I have actually spent rehearsing in these ensembles.  The Drexel University music ensembles have given me opportunities that I would have probably never had at a lot of other colleges.  From the contemporary repertoire of Concert Band, to the Jazz classics in Jazztet and Jazz Orchestra, to the unique alterations in Fusion Band, and to the rock and pop standards in the Pep Band supporting the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, I have developed as a musician and a student through the support of the musical ensembles here at Drexel.