Carolina marching band plays at Williams Brice Stadium

Music opportunities at UofSC provide students, community chance to connect

Whether you’re enjoying the Mighty Sound of the Southeast during a football game or practicing Vivaldi for a symphony concert, music connects us to each other.  

“The power of music is the ability to express and share the human connection through sound, concert experiences or any meaningful musical experience between both the performers and the audience,” says School of Music professor Claire Bryant.

“Music has the ability to teach us a lot about ourselves and each other,” she says. “Sometimes, the audience can be a classroom full of students where the creative interaction with music can tap into a part of the brain.”

For Bryant, the collaborative aspect of music allows people to go beyond the five senses and connect with bandmates on another level. And, of course, there is always collaboration between the performer and the audience. Drawing in new audience members means shaking things up a bit, like the Lunch and Listen concerts in the Koger Center lobby where people can bring their lunch and sit it on a rehearsal with students, faculty and guest artists.

“We all have expectations, especially around classical music, where we think that in order to go to this concert, one has to dress up, pay a lot of money and cannot clap,” Bryant says. “These rules are all buried in tradition and we are trying to break away from those clichés certainly within the campus and Columbia community.”

Music’s greatest potential may be in how it draws on personal experience whether for performer or audience. “It is an interpersonal experience in the sense that when we make or create music, think about music or listen to music alone, we are reflecting within ourselves,” Bryant says. “Taking the time to let the music affect you in whichever way it does, can transport you.”

Bryant recommends students start by simply taking a music appreciation course. These classes are geared toward the non-music major and is a broad survey of music from centuries ago to the present day. There are opportunities to listen to all types of music with on-campus performances — many of them free for students.

“It is about seeking opportunities that are on your doorstep,” Bryant says.

One such opportunity is a visit from the Kronos Quartet, which will perform a new work created along with a poem by UofSC professor Nikki Finney. The concert is free for students and will begin at 3 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Koger Center.

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