Music can invigorate the college experience

How it can save an academic career

Illustration: Mazie Neill • The Sentry
Get the most out of college with musical experiences.

Going to college is a life-changing experience, bringing with it tremendous stress and anxiety. Music can help to remember feelings of home and hold on to those cherished memories; yet it also helps with forging new feelings and memories. Whether cramming assignments, taking a mental health break, or looking for a career path, music will always be there to soothe the soul.

Depending on what works for each individual person, studying or doing homework in a quiet room might sound dreadfully boring. Listening to some noise in the background, especially instrumental music, can help with persisting through hours of work. A word of advice though, it’s usually best to avoid any music that inspires dancing spontaneously. Having a successful college career isn’t always about striving for perfect grades or getting enough sleep at night though. 

When the burden of impending assignment deadlines starts to grow, listening to music can alleviate that stress. Taking a walk and hearing that familiar noise come through the headphones can feel like living in a movie and completely change the mood of the day. Even if just trying to fall asleep, putting on a soothing album helps fall gently into slumber.  

For those aspiring to perform or work in the entertainment industry, CU Denver has a top shelf program. Notable alumni include Isaac Slade, lead singer of The Fray, and now-professor Andrew “Rok” Guerrero of the Flobots. Even jamming with friends on the weekends can be a great way to make memories while growing as a person.  

With the possibility of live performances returning this summer, musicians will almost certainly travel to Denver in the coming months. Venues like Red Rocks are iconic of course, but more cozy spaces like the Bluebird and the Ogden also make for memorable experiences. Outdoor spaces include Coors Field, just west of Auraria Campus, and Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Englewood. Even the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts live performances, as well as City Park with their weekly jazz events. DIY spaces like Seventh Circle and Rhinoceropolis provide stages where creativity has no bounds. 

Auraria campus also hosts performances throughout the year with music students and other local musicians, including at Lynxaroad or Battle of the Bands, Ensemble Fest, and the Block Party at the beginning of the academic year. CAM students have also played at the Underground Music Showcase that takes over South Broadway and surrounding buildings every summer. After the events of the last year, enjoying live music with friends again will be cathartic.  

At times music reminds people who they are, and other times it helps people redefine who they are. Musicians and other folks working in the entertainment industry deserve more credit and recognition for their contribution to society. Be sure to follow The Sentry for recommendations on new music and even playlists for a variety of occasions. 

This is a selection from the 2021 Orientation Issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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