‘Music is like magic’: LCC transfer students are poised for success in UO music programs | News

The door of a music practice room at Lane Community College has a piece of paper taped to it with names scrawled across it. Students are signing up for specific times to have exclusive access to these coveted spaces for musicians. As the term trudges on, students lug their instruments and materials into their practice rooms, do what they can for their allotted hour and then return to the world outside of that sound-proofed room.

“One of the great things about music school is that there are designated practice rooms,” LCC student Martin King said. “You go in there, lock yourself in and do your thing until you get better, and then you can get out.”

For King and University of Oregon transfer student Thomas Guastavino, these practice rooms have become an integral part of their educational experiences. Both identify as non-traditional students, share a passion for music and hope to become music educators after their graduate journeys through undergraduate and schools. While neither got their musical or educational starts at LCC, both King and Guastavino credit the college’s robust music department for providing them with tools to further their learning.

King, a current LCC student in the music program, has been playing trumpet for 15 years. His educational journey has included attending the University of Nevada in Reno for a year, dropping out to attend community college, moving to Oregon, starting classes at LCC after an almost 10-year hiatus and, most recently, being accepted into the UO College of Music and Dance. King said he leans toward the jazz studies major but isn’t positive about what he’ll commit to once he starts at UO in the fall. He said all he knows is that he’s doing what he’s meant to do.

King said studying in the music program at LCC has provided him with the skills to continue his education at UO. He auditioned for and earned an Ensemble Talent Grant, which paid for 13 credits of courses for the winter term at LCC. King said his time at LCC has encouraged him to keep practicing.

“It’s been a great experience,” King said. “The music department is awesome. It’s got a great faculty, very knowledgeable instructors and just very helpful, friendly people.”

Lane’s music program hosts resources like a recording studio that can fit 24 musicians; an isolation booth and a control room; the Music Technology Lab, which offers state of the art technology for students to utilize for music engineering, and the Performing Arts Resource Center, which houses reference materials.

King said he puts in at least an hour of trumpet practice every day. That doesn’t include time he spends rehearsing for ensemble performances or class times where he’s practicing music.

For King, sticking with the trumpet for over a decade has felt natural, even with the obstacles he faces such as finding the time to practice between classes and work. He said that although he loves practicing and rehearsing, “performing is truly magical for me.”

“Pretty much once you start playing, you don’t want to stop,” King said. “That’s what I’ve found because music is like magic — it feels so good.”

In another practice room across town on the UO campus, Guastavino, a music education major, is belting his heart out, practicing a choral ensemble piece. Like King, he said his educational journey has been a long and winding road. Guastavino is a post-baccalaureate student. He received a degree in theater and found himself re-enrolling in classes when he found out about LCC’s Performing Arts department years after joining the workforce as a physical therapist assistant.

Guastavino said he decided to leave the health care sector and begin a journey in the direction of his passion for music. Through his time at LCC, he learned about the UO’s choral track for music education as a pathway to teaching. From there, Guastavino set his sights on the university.

Guastavino said his passion for singing has been an ever-present part of his life. Some of his earliest memories are of him singing, and he said that years of vocal lessons and choir performances have solidified his passion.

“I’ve always sung. It’s just always been part of my life,” Guastavino said. “I think the best choices I’ve made have been to get deeper into that passion. I’ve done a lot of singing since then in a lot of different contexts.”

Guastavino said music has become very personal to him, acting as an identifying factor in his life. He said his love for music motivates him to become a music educator so he can share his passion with students who might benefit from the experience.

“What I’d really like to do is teach high school,” Guastavino said. “That’s the time when I remember that arts programs really helped me personally in school.”

Guastavino said his time at LCC gave him access to diverse resources that allowed him to try out things like using digital software to score music and working in a recording studio. He said that when he transferred to UO, he felt like he had many tools to utilize. Part of what inspires him to become a music educator is the creative nature of composing music.

“There are so many things people can do that are destructive,” Guastavino said. “Music is something that is purely an act of creation.”

For both King and Guastavino, their music comes to life on stage, but it takes its first steps in school practice rooms.

Guastavino said he hopes to pick up a few more instruments in his time at UO, where he’s already learned how to play a bit of clarinet and flute. Afterward, he hopes to become a music educator for high schoolers.

King said he hopes to have a career as a freelance musician after earning his bachelor’s and graduate degrees. Long term, he sees himself teaching private trumpet lessons. He credits his time at LCC for providing him with the space, time and tools he needs to be successful at the university.

“Great things can happen at Lane,” King said. “It gives me so many feelings to hear great music. Being involved in it is kind of next-level, too.”

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