College experience inspires student-produced music – The Oberlin Review

It’s no secret that Oberlin is a very musical place. Between the Conservatory, the Arts and Sciences Orchestra, and various a capella groups, there are always plenty of musical performances on campus. However, there’s another side to Oberlin’s music scene that doesn’t get as much attention: its expansive lineup of music producers and engineers.

There are several talented students on campus who, in addition to performing on stage, record and edit their own songs and then release them on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music. College sophomore Megan Beeler, who goes by the artist name Lavendink, began playing with production during her sophomore year of high school. She started taking it seriously during the pandemic and was soon in charge of mixing the recording of her high school choir’s entire mock performance.

“I was a choir kid, we wanted to do some mock choirs, and I had a lot of film experience, but not a lot of sound experience,” Beehler said. “So I was really confident that I could do the video part and I was just finding the sound. That was kind of my first experience with trying to put a bunch of voices together or put together a bunch of tracks that were really sound-based.”

Beehler has since released two albums, The Letters I Couldn’t Write in July 2021 and The College Exp this month. She described her genre of music as “indie bedroom pop”, although she said she was also categorized as alternative folk by the streaming platforms’ algorithm.

College sophomore Ella Harrington, who is currently taking a semester off, has released five singles under the stage name Ella Faye. She has been passionate about music all her life, having taken up the Suzuki violin at the age of three. He started writing songs for the first time when he was 12 years old.

“When I was four years old, my family started singing with an intergenerational folk choir in the Boston area,” Harrington said. “So that really opened up my musical world to a really wide range of artists.”

She wrote her first two songs when she was 12 years old. One, called “Memories” honored her late grandfather. She wrote the other, titled “I Remember,” with her best friend Charlotte.

“It was about our friendship together and a platonic love song.”

Both Beehler and Harrington tell personal stories in their songs and noted that it can be scary, with Harrington’s record “I Can See the Rain” referring to a boy she had a crush on when she was 16.

“Songs that are about people … don’t necessarily paint them in the best light,” Beehler said. “It’s ‘this is how I felt at one point in time’ and doesn’t necessarily reflect how I feel now. And so sometimes I worry that people might feel like I’m exposing them or making them feel like he’s a bad person… Nothing bad [has happened] but it’s a little scary.”

Harrington does not like to categorize her music into a specific genre, as she draws inspiration from a variety of genres including folk, pop and soul. Third-year double major Brock Bierly shares Harrington’s reluctance to categorize his music into a specific genre.

“I think I’d like to go in the opposite direction if I had to put my music stuff in front of somebody,” Bierly said.

Bierly, a TIMARA student, first developed an interest in music production at a young age due to his interest in robotics. Bierly has also been playing drums since he was three – their babysitter got tired of banging pots and pans and suggested they actually get a drum set.

“I liked that the Megazords were broken up and put back together, and I thought it was cool that it was electronic or something,” Bierly said. “And that’s how I really got into the idea of ​​liking techno. I didn’t really listen to much techno, but I was like, “Yeah, my favorite genre is techno music.”

College sophomore Lawrence Wright, who produces music under the artist name Comprehensible, began composing music in high school using MuseScore. During his senior year, he had the opportunity to participate in “Game Jam”, which gave him the opportunity to connect with video game composers working in the industry.

“He was like, ‘Hey, have you heard of this thing called not using MuseScore and moving to a bigger digital workstation?’ and he showed me the ropes,” Wright said.

Wright has since created a few songs that have been released on his YouTube channel, including “Nonna’s Song” and “Breestep.” He described his music as “vaguely inspired by video games, kind of classical but not really because classical people are eating me alive for calling it classical”. While Wright sings and plays some clarinet and piano, most of his music is produced digitally.

While Oberlin musicians may seem to focus on more serious projects, they also know the importance of relaxing and having fun. Beehler has produced songs such as “Rats on Crack” and “Premarital Handholding,” which are featured on her YouTube channel.

“My roommate and I did basic improv songs, where I start playing some chords and we make a song together,” Beehler said. “We basically have an improv EP, if you will.”

All four artists said Oberlin was integral to their music-making process, whether it was the Wrights’ theory and composition classes at the Conservatory, Bierly’s on-campus collaborations, Beehler’s self-produced single “I Cried in Tappan Square ” or Harrington’s presence at Oberlin’s campus musicals. All of these have served as sources of inspiration, showcasing the diverse talents at Oberlin College and the Conservatory.

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