Eron Smith ’16
Growing up, I was heavily involved in music. I played piano, oboe, some clarinet, and even tried sousaphone. I composed, released a couple of original songwriting albums, and performed in recitals. I didn’t have a fantastic work ethic when it came to practicing, but I thought I wanted to attend a conservatory. After some unfortunate auditions and a lot of soul-searching, I wisely chose Pomona instead, hoping to double major in music and math.
After my first year, I was still doing well in math but losing enthusiasm. I had developed other interests in foreign languages, but music remained my primary focus. I wasn’t sure what subfields I was interested in, but I was sure I liked music enough to declare, so I did. After that, everything began falling into place. I found my love in music theory, and my academic motivation doubled. Here was work that thrilled me, a field that engaged my emotions as well as my intellect.
I may have taken a somewhat backwards route to choosing my major, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The intuition that led me to declare a music major has since led me to some of the most exciting and challenging questions I’ve ever encountered. The music department is full of amazing, intelligent, and encouraging professors—it’s a small, intimate department, but so many different ideas and interests bounce around here under the roof of the affectionately hated Thatcher Music Building. With the help of the department, I’m preparing for graduate work with independent studies and summer research applications, worked to death by a fervent enthusiasm for life as a musician and a scholar.
Jeremy Taylor ‘18
My experience with music has primarily been performance-based and during family gatherings and church functions. Those two of the three parts of my simple Arkansas life, family and church, were the perimeter of my musical involvement. The last part, school, was a place where I would sink knee-deep in STEM curriculum.
When I began to explore what I could do with music in the academic field, I was beyond enthusiastic about the prospect of studying it, but also saddened because my high school career was more than half over. I had it in my head that, without a sufficient number of years of formal study in music, higher education courses would be out of the question.
Thankfully, I applied to Pomona College, a liberal arts school that values holistic education and promotes an environment where all intellectual passions hold equal weight. I sang in the Pomona College Choir in the fall semester, and then in the Pomona College Glee Club in the spring semester. Joining the choir was the best decision I could make. It opened me to a world I would have never discovered with the perspective I was holding onto about scholarly study in music.
To my surprise, I engaged multiple academic skills all at once while experiencing the joy of artistic expression. By the end of the year, I had accomplished a repertoire easily comprised of multiple different languages, musical styles, and in different settings. My tour along the East Coast with the Glee Club cannot be summed up in the pictures I took, but lingers in the harmonies that filled the walls of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and other venues.
All of these things happened in one year, and it was also my first year at Pomona College. My sophomore year is starting with music courses in theory and history, and my simple life has now expanded to accommodate the memories of my first year and the prospect of majoring in music. I can affirm now that my musical passion is academic at its source.