Today we speak with first generation college student, Rafael Alvarez, who is a transfer from Raritan Valley Community College. Rafael is a senior double major in Jazz Bass performance and Classical Cello. He is originally from Tampa, FL.
Why did you transfer to Rowan?
There were just a lot of opportunities and my brother went here. When I came to audition I met the bass professor and he allowed me to play a bit on the upright. Coming just from eclectic it gave me a lot more opportunities here and I was able to play cello and push that to help me grow.
How would you say the professors here are?
They are really helpful. I would say as a performance major especially I had to be really close with my professors and they guided me – walking through and really nurtured me to grow.
Why did you choose your major?
I think originally when I came up to New Jersey music was a little bit a part of me. I played cello, and in 8th or 9th grade I found more opportunities musically. It took up most of my time, I like to write, play listen and so I thought why not do it as a job?
What do you want to do with your degree?
In all honesty the end goal is that I just want to make something of myself. But a dream job would be to work in some kind of pit orchestra. I think that would be really cool. I have always loved playing those gigs but I also like a lot of music. I have a lot of aspirations and I just want to get up somewhere I am good financially and then do anything with the orchestra. In the end I am happy making music for myself. So if I can do any of the other stuff then why not.
Friends that made you feel like home?
Most people are from my major that I am friends with. Everyone is very welcoming and I love the bass studio. They are great people and I have met a lot of people from different ensembles. I am in the orchestra, string ensemble, the jazz band and small groups.
How do you like Rowan?
I think it is really cool. The teachers have been really great and I feel like I have learned and grown as a person.
Anything else you would like to mention?
I think Rowan is good well balanced school and it really allows you to explore what you want to do and turn it into something. They gave me a lot of opportunities here and I feel like I have been connecting more. Rowan has allowed me to take a step to a more official adult life. This semester with COVID-19, we have had a lot of guest artists come in on Zoom. We have done big workshops or big MASTERclasses which I have been a part of. I got to meet new people, been able to play for people and get criticism on my playing. They comment on our playing and we grow from that. I have been given a lot of playing opportunities and have been exploring my own stuff and new styles.
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Story and Photography by: Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major