“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Music has been shown to have beneficial effects for human health: it increases cognitive performance, improves memory, and reduces stress, among others. However, many international students are forced to leave their instruments at home because of the difficulties related to transporting them on a long flight. Coming to UC Berkeley—the top public university in the United States—should not be an obstacle for playing music: For this reason, International House offers residents the opportunity to play and rehearse music in its practice rooms.
One of the best things of living at International House as a musician is that you have access to two music rooms with a wide variety of instruments: Two pianos, a set of drums, guitars, a violin, bongos, tambourines, and even a Cajón, a box-shaped drum invented in Peru that is often used in Flamenco music.
There are many residents who use the rooms to practice, others like to try a new instrument, and some who like to use them to de-stress and have a good time.
The music rooms are also used by residents to do fun jam sessions that usually spawn the creation of international music bands! This is how I created different bands with other friends interested in music, from countries such as the United States, Spain, Sweden, and Chile.
Thanks to the music rooms, we had the chance to rehearse and perform at Sunday Suppers and Resident Concerts in front of audiences of more than 200 people! These were unforgettable experiences for us that all were born in the practice rooms of I-House.
Although you must be an I-House resident to access the rooms, you do not need to be a professional musician: From amateurs to experts, all are welcome! You just need to attend a music room orientation, usually held within the first two weeks of the semester. If you missed the session, you can arrange an orientation through the Program Office. After that, you are on your way to stardom!
If you lived in I-House before, did you ever use the music practice rooms? Let us know in the comments below.