It is one thing to play an instrument on your own and completely another to play with other people. That is exactly why the UTM Music Club (UMC) wants you to put yourself out there and attend their monthly jam sessions or even better, take part of the album they’re recording and produce your own music professionally.
Whether you formed your own band with friends, participated in music-related clubs in high school, or were forcefully dragged to tedious piano lessons, the UMC is for students to meet with other students of all different levels and backgrounds. The club is run by Mohamed Salama, Jessica Balgobin, Juan Castaneda, Fayez Habbach, Asheesh Moosapeta, and Spok.
The club is recognized for their monthly jam sessions around campus, which are held for instrumentalists and vocalists to collaborate with other students who play the same or different instruments. The best thing about these jam sessions is that the club provides most of the common instruments which saves you from the hassle of carrying your heavy amp, loose picks, and tangled wires around campus. During each session, they provide acoustic, classical, and electric guitars. They also offer the bass, piano, a drum set, and a drum machine.
I have personally attended multiple jam sessions last semester and I never leave without making a new friend or learning how to play something new. I remember scrambling through the halls of the student centre and overhearing insane guitar riffs and that is where I immediately began to doubt my rusty campfire guitar skills. “It is really intimidating for beginners to enter a big jam session,” Spok, the technical director, says. He even admits that for his first time walking into a jam session, all that went through his mind was, “Damn, I am not good enough.” Asheesh, the project manager, also agrees: “We do get a lot of really good players, however, you could have really good musicians who are outstanding on their own yet still find difficulty with playing with other people.”
The club is looking at an exciting term as they are granting the opportunity to interested students to form groups to master and produce originals, and covers, professionally for a collaborative UTM album. This project is an exciting opportunity for all music producers, instrumentalists, and vocalists who always longed to record their own music professionally, but never had the resources and proper equipment to do so.
The members of the club break down the process of the album to multiple steps. The first step would be to form a group you would like to collaborate with. To ease the process, the club has formed a Facebook group chat where students share their skills and talents. This helps the musicians to find people of similar levels and genres of interest. The second part would be brainstorming and agreeing upon the sound and genre of the song. Afterward, they will move on to recording the project in the CFRE Radio studio. And finally, comes the mastering. Once the group has their desired arrangement and a good recording, all that is left to do is to figure out how to make the song sound the same across different speakers.
The club is now discussing plans on how to distribute the album. They will publish them on platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, “but we’ll see if we could work with the radio because they want to start a label for the station. So if we would release it through that label, that would be great,” Asheesh adds.
The club announces that it is not too late to form a group—if this interests you, don’t hesitate to reach out to the club. In addition, even if you do not play an instrument, the club is now taking requests for teaching beginners the piano, guitar, and drums.
“More than anything, our goal for the club is to create a community where students come to the UMC in their free time on campus purely out of their own choice to share their knowledge and collaborate with musicians,” the group says. “Our goal is to make music! It is as simple as that,” Spok adds.