Posts Tagged ‘instruments’

Connections Through Creativity

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

Having a creative outlet is something that I believe is essential for everyone, but especially college students. The route memorization and endless readings that all students suffer through for the sake of their degrees can be incredibly draining, and it is so helpful to both take a break and exercise a different part of your mind through creative activities. Granted, I am a film student, so all of the creative stuff is a pretty integral part of my degree as is. However, that’s not to say that I don’t find ways to express my creativity in other ways outside of film.

For me, music has always been a core way for me to express myself, for myself. I started playing piano at age 5 and absolutely adored the way that playing music could express emotions in a way that words are not capable of. At first, it was a private way of showing up for myself and working through things through a creative medium. However,  the summer after 4th grade, I started my journey with the cello.

My very first cello recital

I think what first attracted me to the cello is how human-like its register is. The warmth and depth of the tones that can be produced on the cello are just so reminiscent of the human voice,  which gives cello pieces an extra layer of complexity and emotion. Starting cello is what finally helped me bridge the gap between finding my voice through music and sharing that voice with others. 

From elementary all the way through high school, I was able to have so many amazing experiences through playing the cello. I got to perform with the amazing trio Time for Three, play a movie-themed concert, and participate in the pit orchestra for two school musicals. By the end of my senior year, it was difficult to imagine a life without the cello and orchestral music. However, I wasn’t sure how to incorporate cello into my college life.

Going to school in Ireland definitely complicated things. If I wanted to bring my cello from home, I would have had to buy a whole extra plane ticket for it. With a connecting flight and a lot of baggage, it just didn’t seem like a viable option. The other choice was looking to buy or rent a cello in Dublin, but the research I did at home yielded very few results. So, with little choice to do anything else, I flew to Dublin for the first time without knowing the next time I’d play the cello.

Thankfully, with the help of fate, it didn’t take long for me to find out. My school had a society fair, and I went straight up to the orchestra’s booth to enquire about auditions. I was hoping they would have auditions later in the year, so I could have the time to look for a cello, but unfortunately, they were holding the only auditions of the year in just a few days. 

I booked an audition slot, and the panic to find a cello set in. I traversed all over the city, going from one music shop to the next with no luck. Finally, I made my last stop for the day at a music store that was set to close in twenty minutes. To my surprise, they had a single student cello for sale. It was in my price range so after sending a few photos of the instrument to my teacher back home to make sure it was okay, I bought the cello and brought it home.

I didn’t have much time to practice, but thankfully the audition went okay and I got into the orchestra! (It would have been pretty awkward if I didn’t…having just bought a cello and all). I was a little intimidated by how talented the other players were, but after a few rehearsals I settled in and found myself looking forward to the weekly rehearsals as a break from my classes and an exciting way to continue playing cello.

I had a number of incredible experiences through the cello my freshman year of college as well. I played Beethoven’s 5th and 9th symphonies, performed in the pit for the musical “Sweet Charity,” and even got to play some ’90s music for Trinity Ball, the largest private party in Europe held right on my university’s campus!

The Trinity Ball crowd!

Overall, I am so grateful that I was able to continue playing cello in college. It has given me a community and so many memories that I wouldn’t be able to imagine my college experience without. I would highly recommend to anyone starting out in college to find their own creative outlet, whether it’s an instrument, visual art, creative writing, or anything else. There are so many opportunities to connect with the arts through your school, and once you find the thing that’s right for you, you’ll be so happy for both the outlet and experiences that it will provide.


  • I started playing piano as a musical outlet, and eventually switched to cello
  • I had amazing experiences in high school playing cello, but wasn’t sure how to continue in college
  • Thankfully, I was able to get another cello and join my university’s orchestra
  • The orchestra has provided me with a strong community and unforgettable experiences performing
  • Having a creative outlet in college can be an amazing way to establish a community and take part in new experience

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By Bella Littler

Bella is a second year film student within the Trinity College Dublin / Columbia Dual BA program. She grew up in Iowa, but is currently living and studying in Dublin. On the average day, you can find her watching obscure movies, going on aimless walks around the city, or raving about any and all Taylor Swift lyrics.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


Plugging in with Good Intentions — Chapter 4: Music Mix

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

There’s no denying that music influences our mood and form of expression. Whether you’re a composer, performer, or a mere listener, music can be the perfect outlet to express creativity and let out emotions.

With technological advancements, we can listen to any song our heart desires with just a few clicks of a button. 

Sometimes we need a distraction or boost to our everyday lives. For me, I think of music as an abstract companion. As long as I have a device that can connect to music, I know that I can depend on it to be there for me. I never go about my day without listening to some form of music. Even if it’s a busy day, I’m sure my ears will end up hearing a tune from a commercial or the radio playing from my neighbor.  

Back in third grade, my school required us to learn how to play the recorder. I became so fond of it that I made my parents purchase my own recorder instead of renting it out from school. It also helped that we were told that we would be rewarded with colored ribbons each time we mastered a song. This incentive definitely pushed me into trying my best and advancing my skills. I would say this was the point where music became a bigger part of my life. 

Once I reached fourth grade, middle school band teachers were brought in to introduce us to the other instruments that we could learn to play. At this point, it wasn’t mandatory to learn another instrument nor play the recorder. Still, I chose to learn how to play the flute and went on to perform in numerous school concerts. Along with playing in the middle school band, I played for the all-city band that was made up of students from different middle schools in Quincy, MA. From making new friends to developing music skills, I owe it to my younger self for sparking my appreciation and enjoyment of music.

Maybe you’re not a big fan of music. Yet, let’s look at the wide range of benefits that music brings to our lives. 

1. Mood Matcher

  • Music platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music are perfect for discovering new music and creating playlists tailored to your mood. From songs to sing while in the shower to crying in the rain, the search for new music never has to end. 

2. Mental Health

3. Social Connections

  • Music can easily be shared with others via the Internet. From individual songs to packed playlists, you can find people who have similar music tastes. 

4. Cognitive Boost

  • Listening to music can block outside noises and improve your concentration.

5. Increase workout endurance

  • High tempo tracks can help boost physical activities. By blocking out distractions, you can focus on building strength and endurance.

These are just a few of the many benefits that music can bring into our lives. From meeting new people to keeping calm under stressful activities, listening to music stimulates our ears and brain activity. It doesn’t matter if you are musically inclined or a fan of a certain artist. Remember it’s all about having fun, encouraging good vibes, and plugging in with good intentions

If you’re in need of some tech to help foster your music career or some new headphones to listen to some tunes, check out Adorama!

By: Sydney Ly

Sydney Ly studies Communication with dual minors in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is currently working in retail and has experience as a tutor. Her passions include but are not limited to reading, listening to music, and watching The Office.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


How to Live Stress Free and Musically: Music as the Ultimate Art Form

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

Music is the ultimate art form. There are other art forms that people use to express themselves and they’re all great, I have embraced many of them. But when you really think about it, how many people go to the Met and walk out saying, “I don’t get art.” How many people have two left feet on the dance floor? Rubbing up against each other in a nightclub is not considered an example of dance as an art form; I don’t care how sweet your moves are. I’m referring to the real stuff- ballet, tap, salsa, waltz- all the great dance styles they show on Dancing with the Stars (isn’t that how we non-dancers learn the names of these dances anyway?) How many of us really enjoy writing and consider it to be our art and how many actually like to read the works of others?









Obviously the sap writing this eBook does but that’s another story for another eBook. But back to my point- music. Music is one of the most popular forms of entertainment- listening to it, making it, learning about it and buying it. There’s a reason why Pandora is so popular-  it’s because people love music. Music speaks for us, makes us move, inspires us, makes us fall in love, provides memory triggers if it’s playing during important moments in our lives and it makes us happier people. If that’s not enough for you, music has about 100 Facebook pages dedicated to it!



College can be a very difficult time in a person’s life. There’s worrying about keeping up with classes, worrying about being broke, worrying about relationships, and worrying about the fact that you worry so much. The average college student spends the majority of their time stressing out and the rest of their time doing everything they can to keep themselves sane. For any kind of chronic worrier, like college students for example, it is generally recommended that people take time to do activities that help clear the mind and alleviate stress. Music is one of those things that can temporarily alleviate stress by releasing endorphins, or the happy chemicals in your brain. It can create the same effect that a good jog can. It clears the mind, thus allowing you to think a lot clearer. Professor John Kizzie, and English professor and guitar instructor at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey has worked with many students over the years and has been a firsthand witness to the benefits that college students can gain from listening and learning to play music.

“In an immediate sense, a student gets exercises in focus and concentration.  To sit with music and an instrument, means, like reading, you are intellectually engaged in an activity.  You can concentrate more because it is a skill needed to focus on the music and guiding your fingers in a way that changes from song to song.


Listening skills improve, too.  Hopefully, as a student practices she can listen with intent to what she is playing.  That skill can carry over into the classroom and in personal conversations,” Kizzie said.

Among the many positive effects that Kizzie discussed, one aspect sums truly reinforces what I have learned in my experience with learning music.

He said, “I believe students get a better understanding of what it takes to excel at skills like playing music; therefore, there, too, will be a greater appreciation of the concert artist. Students will see that even something that seems as fun and easy as “making music” actually takes a great deal of time. Then, hopefully, they can transfer that to whatever field in which they are striving. Every person who achieves greatness – in any field- is bolstered by years and years of hard work and training. The reward is getting to make a living doing work that looks like it is fun and easy to others.”


He added, “Humility, too, comes with trying to play a musical instrument. In a time when every one has an opinion, and we have talk show hosts and politicians who are “never” wrong, learning to play an instrument is humbling. Sometimes we sound badly, and that means we need to work more at something. We can’t be perfect or right all the time as learners. Here lies the crux of all of this, too. In Buddhism, there is a concept known as the “beginner’s” or “learner’s” state of mind. Quickly, it means if we all stayed open minded in all that we do, we would continually learn and grow, without preconceptions. Learning to play a musical instrument can do this for us, too. We learn to learn, with the intent to understand the nature of the instrument and  to always get better at playing it.”


By Janet Reyes

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