Music affects everyone in diverse ways, but many will confirm that music ultimately changes lives. Being exposed to music brings about countless benefits, and many experts believe that music is a crucial part of education, creativity and expression. In 1985, the National Association for Music Education dedicated a monthlong celebration of music in schools to raise awareness of musical education for all students. Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM) is celebrated each March and is an opportunity for music teachers to highlight the programs in their academic community that bring the benefit of music to students at any level.
At MSU, music is a part of our daily lives — whether we notice it or not. We walk to class to the tune of the bells in Beaumont tower, we sing “Victory for MSU” and the “Alma Mater” at every sporting event, and we’ve all seen at least one amazing musical at the Wharton Center. While those things may seem obvious, there are many other ways to experience and participate in music at MSU and during MIOSM, even if you aren’t a music major.
The College of Music schedules performances that students are welcome to enjoy. From piano performances and symphony bands to jazz orchestras and wind symphonies, there are more days in the month of March that feature musical events than days that do not. These festivities are completely unique to MSU’s college experience and are free to students with a valid ID. Generous sponsors and lovers of music donate time and funds to make these performances happen, including MSU’s public radio station, WKAR.
WKAR is a public radio station in East Lansing that is owned by the university and has been providing students and faculty with classical music channels since 1948. Along with stations that play classical music, WKAR also provides some of National Public Radio’s popular programs. Fans of folk, jazz and classical music can tune in at any time of the day to catch playlists within their favorite genres. Student radio is an underrated but crucial aspect of ensuring that music is an integrated part of education, by making it accessible to anyone on campus.
Speaking of student radio, MSU’s Impact 89FM has students covered on all things alternative music. Impact is one of the nation’s largest college radio programs with over 300 students who work and volunteer for the station; this collaborative effort is recognized across campus as students are involved with not only FM music and DJing, but also with updating the website’s written articles about music, covering all MSU’s sports teams, managing marketing and conducting professional interviews. Impact also hosts events over the course of the semester that aim to get students involved with music in any context.
One of the most well-known events that Impact sponsors on campus is Open Mic Night with the University Activities Board. Open Mic Night takes place every other Tuesday night and is a favorite of Spartan students. March 13 and March 27 are the next Open Mic Nights, so grab your friends and head to the MSU Union for a night full of music. Students are encouraged to embrace their musical, comedic and creative sides by signing up to sing a couple of songs. There are even regulars who perform; The Three Dollar Bill Crew, a huge crowd pleaser, leave the crowd laughing every time. You don’t need to be the next Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake to perform — you just need to have fun!
Music is an important part of MSU’s social and cultural identity, found in any corner of the university. There are countless opportunities for students to get involved with music whether it’s through working at one of the radio stations, performing at open mic night or attending events scheduled by the College of Music. Since March is Music in Our Schools Month, take advantage of all the music our school has to offer and make the most of this university.