Using music to connect to people

Story posted October 17, 2016 in Best of CommMedia by Antonella Crescimbeni.

Nicole Schaefer has been playing the piano since she was six years old. Schaefer's family had received a piano from Santa Claus, and her mother had put Nicole and her sister in piano lessons to learn classical music. Over time, her sister outgrew it but Nicole said she continued playing and started to become exposed to different types of music.

She found other programs that opened her eyes to music other than classical, and she loved the sense of community around music and how she could connect to people with the piano. She started performing the music she liked with the "School of Rock" and the program exposed her to rock and blues.

At Penn State she has performed with different bands, at open mics, and on her own time. She says she prefers jamming with her friends instead of performing in a huge crowd, but when the room is packed, it can be a lot of fun.

“Depending on the crowd it can get a bit nerve-wrecking, but when there is a good crowd, they’re’s just so much energy,” she says. She performs with her band, The JENKs, at a bar called Cafe every week on the weekends where they usually draw a big crowd and have become well-known their.

Schaefer believes that when you have a good crowd, it becomes a cycle of energy from the band and the crowd.

"The crowd is cool, but honestly, it's more about connecting with the band, connecting with the drummer and being in sync. When the guitar and piano are complimenting each other, thats really the best part," she says.

Music has become an integral oart of her everyday routine. She says she couldn't imagine leading a happy life where music doesn't play a huge role in her life.

"I'm so lucky to be doing this and having these great opportunities to be doing the thing that I love every day," she says.