Collective connects student musicians at Tufts
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 08:10
Through a collaborative effort, music majors and musicians alike have come together to advertise concerts, share equipment, organize events and bounce ideas around. The Musicians Collective is dedicated to linking student musicians across the Hill, whether they’re just starting to explore the music scene or are seasoned musicians looking to share their work.
Although the Musicians Collective used to bring together members for meetings, it is currently using a Facebook group as its central hub. The group currently has over 200 members and frequently updates members with new posts.
“The status of the group depends on who is in charge and who is running the group that particular year, and if they have any sort of budget,” junior Maeve Bell-Thornton, a three-year member of the collective, said.
Organization efforts and collaboration within the group can vary, according to Bell-Thornton. Last year, for example, the Musicians Collective organized a performance for members of the group at the Tufts Distler Performance Hall. The show gave bands and solo performers the chance to showcase their work for each other and the Tufts community. In other years, however, events have not been as organized and the group has existed only as a forum, which, Bell-Thornton added, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The mindset of the collective doesn’t call for a specific leader,” she said. “Even though there’s no one in charge, things get accomplished and it’s a collective effort.”
Specific leadership has always been a mystery for the collective; according to members, no one knows who founded the group.
“No one seems to actually know when the group was founded or by whom,” senior Peter Stone, a member, said.
According to Stone, who is also a member of the band The Rare Occasions, this does not affect the workings of the collective.
“It’s a promising way for people just entering Tufts to get a footing in the music scene here and to get an idea of what’s going on here,” he said.
Students just entering the music scene at Tufts can request to be added to the group, and they can then check the page for updates on happenings in the music scene. Bell-Thornton was enthusiastic about the potential the group has for connecting people who wouldn’t otherwise know about these outlets on and off campus.
“The music scene is difficult to find. There are limited places to have music events and not everything is advertised to public audiences,” Bell-Thornton said.
Freshman Aaron Herman commented on how difficult it has been to define himself as a musician on campus.
“One of the struggles of being a freshman is trying to narrow down the many options that I have. But there’s also the problem of not knowing people, so if I want to do my own thing rather than join some pre-existing group, there was not really anywhere to start,” Herman said.
Herman said that he first heard about the Musicians Collective because a friend of his had joined the group on Facebook, and Herman decided to look into it himself. Herman said he hopes that the Musicians Collective will enable him to participate in an activity he enjoys with the right time commitment.
“I’m hoping that the Musicians Collective will help me find people to play music with, or to play music I’ve written, without the need to form a defined band or make any consistent time commitment,” Herman said. “[The collective] seems like the type of thing that would be informal but very effective, and hopefully it will live up to my expectations.”
Senior Hayes Peebles, who has been an active part of the music scene on campus since his freshman year, found that the group helped strengthen his connection to campus while abroad last year.
“The Musicians Collective supplies a ground work not only as a first step, but for people to use after they graduate, or, while they’re away from Tufts, they can continue to use it to get opinions and see what others are doing on campus,” Peebles said.
The Musicians Collective also acts as a bridge between academic and social music on campus, according to Bell-Thornton. The Department of Music is well aware of the group and its activities.
“All the faculty were really excited to see the music being made outside of the department,” Bell-Thornton said.
As an example, Bell-Thornton cited a TuftsNow article from 2012 about the “Sunset Sessions,” a series of video recording jam sessions on a rooftop in Somerville, which generated excitement from the department.
While the Musicians Collective has potential to be helpful to students, musicians at Tufts report that the group may have some limitations.
“There is a tendency to get lost in the online part of the group,” Peebles said. “It’s positive because there are a lot of voices, [but] negative because it becomes just another Facebook group, and a notification overlooked.”
Stone pointed out that part of the challenge in using Facebook to manage the collective is that reaching out to new students, who are not yet connected to the music scene at Tufts, can be difficult.
“It’s a way to share music with people you already know are interested in music, so it’s an ineffective way to advertise,” he said.