Where Music never stops: The Life of a GS Student

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Julia Fechter

The room’s high ceiling and smooth concrete floors allow the notes from the piano reverberate throughout it.

Various students will stroll into the Williams Center’s multipurpose room to play the grand piano that stands in the corner besides the outdoor access.

Junior biology major Nigel Foster-Jones is one of the students who regularly ventures into the multipurpose room to play on the piano. His piano chops well precede his time at Georgia Southern.

Improvement takes time

Foster-Jones grew up listening to classical music. He has played piano since he was a young child and participated in jazz and concert band during high school.

As well, he has been in two bands during his time at GS. During the summer, he was in the band Viking Accident, and during the 2015-2016 school year, he was in the jazz fusion band Lil Pop and the Wenches That Stand Behind Him.

While Foster-Jones played the piano during high school, he asserts that he actually began to improve his playing once he moved to GS.

“I used to just play once a week at most…there was a piano at Kennedy [residence hall], and so I was in there all the time,” Foster-Jones said. “I was playing piano just for fun, and I was in [the Williams Center] all the time.”

He started spending progressively more time playing the piano. However, he did not initially see this time as practice.

“But it ended up being an hour per day, and so I got better…and so for my personality type, that’s a better way to get good at something when there’s no one forcing you to do it,” Foster-Jones said.

He likes to use his time playing the piano as an opportunity to connect with others on campus. When there was a piano in the Russell Union around Christmas time, he would often walk up and play it.

“It’s a great way to meet people who are passionate about music. A lot of people would come up and be like ‘that’s cool. Let me see what I can play.’ And we would play a lot of duets. It was a good time,” Foster-Jones said.

Playing for preference

Foster-Jones’ favorite music to play is jazz, but he likes to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes.

“Whenever I’m in a room and I’m in a room with people, I try to do something that each person will know,” Foster-Jones said.

Alternatively, most of what he writes is orchestra music. He uses computer software to create what he cannot play on piano.

“I write the kind of stuff that sounds best to me…I often find myself listening to my own music, just because it does exactly what I want it to do when I want it to do it,” Foster-Jones said.

Tangible experience

Foster-Jones is further utilizing his hobby by helping write music for a video game that he and his friends are creating. The project team is composed of Foster-Jones, who writes the music, one friend who is a programmer and another who writes the story for the game.

Except for the programmer, Foster-Jones and the scriptwriter have majors which Foster-Jones considers of a more traditional career style.

“So by the time we graduate, we can say ‘Oh, I took these classes and have this GPA, but I also have written a symphony and I’ve put out this game,’” Foster-Jones said.

He thinks that, overall, having music as a hobby is more conducive to improving at playing it.

“When you make music your leisure activity, it’s a lot easier to get better…when that’s what you go to when you’ve done all your work,” Foster-Jones said.

He does not want music to become a chore for him. That is much of the reason why he and his fellow band members in Viking Accident would pick music they liked to play.

Foster-Jones said, “It was always songs that people would know and we would like. Because if we’re not having fun with it, then why are we doing it?”