Music and art majors share more than just a building

Although art and music students share the Fine Arts Building at UAA, they do not often interact, according to art major Claire Kudyba.

The Fine Arts Building is home to courses in art, music and theater at UAA. Photo by Anna Berry.

“Even though we are all in the same building and are part of the ‘arts,’ I find people still keep to themselves,” Kudyba said.

Despite art and music classes being separate in the building, Kudbya and other fine arts students seem to appreciate their disciplines for similar reasons.

Catherine McKoy, pursuing a bachelor of arts in music, saw foundational classes, such as music theory, as a way to master the basics in order to become more creative later on in her career.

“[Music theory] is all about learning the structure and learning all the rules so that way you know what [rules] to break later,” McKoy said.

Kudyba had similar thoughts on art.

The ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ is a watercolor work by Claire Kudyba. Image courtesy of Claire Kudyba.

“Learning to draw properly and having a structure is really important before you can fully get more creative,” Kudyba said.

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She also said that some people assume that studying art is easy.

“It’s not. You have to do a lot of critical thinking, especially when it comes to designing projects and thinking really hard about what a project is supposed to convey,” Kudyba said.

Similarly, McKoy said that seriously pursuing music was more difficult than she had expected in her youth. The dynamic soundtracks to cartoons such as “Looney Tunes” first got her interested in music and led her to pursue piano when she was 5 years old and violin when she was 8, but she claims she still has a lot more to learn.

“Since I started at a young age, I thought that I’d have it all down by now in my late teens… that wasn’t the case at all,” McKoy said.

In addition, both disciplines necessitate practice outside of classes. Kudyba pointed out that there are some studio classes in the art field, but some work is scheduled for outside of class. She likened this to practice for music majors.

“Because it’s a skill that you’re working towards, it’s definitely important to practice,” Kudyba said.

Travis Friesen, working on his bachelor of music in performance, has taken several art classes and sees broader similarities between art and music. Friesen said that composing music is a creative act, and so is art.

“With writing music, you’re trying to create stuff, and with art [as well], every time you draw something you’re pretty much creating something out of nothing,” Friesen said.

Seeing a work of art, as well as listening to a piece of music, can awaken certain emotions in the observer, according to Friesen.

McKoy, Kudyba and Friesen all expressed different reasons for dedicating themselves to their discipline.

“Writing music and making art is a way of relaxation, trying to get into the zone,” Friesen said.

Kudyba felt that art is what she was born to do.

“If I didn’t have art, I don’t think I would be happy,” Kudyba said.

McKoy saw both music and art as a way to make the world more interesting.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much art is involved in our lives. Getting in the car listening to the radio, that’s music. Going into a store, there’s music there, but as well as the design of the store and the layout, that’s art. Without that, it’d be very bland,” McKoy said.

It seems that art and music majors may have more in common than just a building.