Jam Session

Student musicians talk about where they go to play together

Playing alone in your room can be fun on its own, but depending on who you ask, some may say playing with another person or at a store can be way more fun. We explore some of the various places on- and off-campus that you can go to play music.

Virginia Wesleyan actually has some official ensembles on campus that you could go to play music with other people. One of these is Jazz Ensemble, which can be taken as a course for the semester for one credit. The Jazz Ensemble is run by Dr. Squinobal from the music department. Some of the instruments played there include the guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone and flute. If you’re interested, you can send Dr. Squinobal an email and he can give a more in-depth rundown about the Jazz Ensemble.

The second option is Orchestra. Orchestra appeals more to those who play classical instruments such as violin, viola, flute, trumpet, trombone, tuba and more. Just like Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra can be registered as a course for the semester as well, for one credit. Dr. Squinobal also runs the Orchestra. If you’re interested, email Dr. Squinobal for more information about Orchestra.

Now, if you’re not interested in the on-campus options or not really interested playing with other people, there are other options available to you.  One of the best places off-campus and not very far away is Guitar Center, right on Virginia Beach Blvd. Guitar Center is a chain music store that sells myriad of musical instruments, though the main focuses are guitar, drums and bass.  They also sell pianos, acoustic guitars, and even banjos (and you can’t forget about the kazoos). What’s really cool about Guitar Center is that they even let try out the instruments on display. You could grab a guitar from the wall, new or used, and choose from many different amps and play through them. For drums, they have several kits set up and even electronic drums kits, that come with various drum kit presets. They’ve recently started giving lessons that range from guitar, drums and bass. This place is perfect for those who want to try out whole bunch instruments that you probably can’t afford because you’re a college student, but hey! You can always dream.

Another place off-campus is Alpha Music. It is not as big a store as a big music chain. It is locally owned and they have nice selection of guitars, basses, and drums. They even have a guitar techs that can modify your guitar, such as changing the pickups of your guitar or adding a coil split feature for your guitar. The staff are very friendly and if asked for help, will go out of their way to help you. Alpha Music also give musical lessons ranging from guitar, bass, drums, and even vocal lessons. Alpha Music is also located on Virginia Beach Blvd, but a little ways down the road, past Town Center and past the Train Store, but it is a really neat store that you should definitely visit.

A third option is going to a store called Music Go Round, located near Lynnhaven Mall. Though not as big as Guitar Center and slightly smaller than Alpha Music, in addition to being even a little farther away, this is actually a really good music store. They primarily sell used gear, which if you’re looking to buy a new instrument, could be the best place to start your search. They have a nice selection of used guitars, drum kits, drum parts, a lot of basses and a bigger selection of guitar pedals than Guitar Center. All the instruments in store are decently priced and they also will let you try out any of the guitars, basses and acoustic guitars. The staff are friendly and can answer any question you have. This place is the best place to go if you’re looking to buy or sell an instrument.

Overall, there are various places that you can go to get your musical fix. Don’t just sit in your room alone playing your guitar or bass. They are a lot of places to go jam freely.

Tani Martinez