Back in style

Amidst a new management and a dwindling membership, Music Matters returns for its 3rd year at Jefferson ready for some action with a new take


Justin Chang

Club organizer Evan Huang facilitates a discussion on the song “Souped Up” from the Disney and Pixar film, Ratatouille, analyzing various themes and motifs and questioning the emotions that were felt during the piece.

Justin Chang, Staff Writer

With the sound of jazz filling the room and students nodding to the beat, the once quiet English room transformed into a thrilling jazz club similar to one in downtown New York. But even if jazz isn’t your thing, Music Matters also played and analyzed a variety of different music, ranging from classical, baroque concertos to the latest pop songs on your playlist. The club also aims to promote music throughout the school and engages in activities such as investigating various aspects of music like chord structure, instrumentation, time period, and performance qualities.

“What we do as a club is we try to spread awareness for music and also give people a way to analyze and explore their passion in music,” junior Evan Huang said. “We have a lots of different ways that we can analyze music through the time period, an examination of different composers and different keys, how the instrumentation works, and how the music is performed as different performers use different techniques to convey their emotions.”

With such activities offered, it’s hard to imagine that the club once faced a major issue when many of its regular attendees, including both founding members, graduated from Jefferson last year, leaving the club without a manager and a diminished population of only 2-3 regular members. To tackle this issue, Huang stepped up and took on responsibility of organizing and leading the club for its first meeting of the year on Friday, September 21st, which was met with unexpected success.

“The first meeting went a lot better than I expected because I woke up this morning and checked ION and noticed that only 3 people signed up for the club, so I was pretty disappointed by it,” Huang said. “But by lunch I saw that there was 11 people signed up so I was pretty excited to give my presentation and I think it went really well. People were receptive and they seemed to enjoy the presentation.”

With the sudden and abrupt increase in sign-ups, Huang himself looked for an answer and realized that the club was one of the only places where students could pursue their interests in music. With this, he hopes to see how he can use this opportunity to grow the club in the near future.

“I think part of the reason [why so many people signed up] was that people don’t really have a chance to explore music here at TJ, which is so STEM-focused so they decided to come to the club to see what we were about and expand their musical interests,” Huang said.

To attract more members and cater to the interests of the students at Jefferson, Huang aims to introduce new ideas and concepts to the club where he can actively engage with his audience with interesting and thought-provoking questions instead of lecture-based activities.

“I want to make the club a lot more interactive with a lot more hands-on or audience involved activities, not so much presentations-heavy,” Huang said. “I don’t think that I am that bad of a presenter, but I don’t want people come to the club and get put to sleep, so in the future I might give a presentation on scoring for films, so I might show the audience a clip and ask them what kind of music would you pair with this film and how does it make you feel and those kind of interactive activities.”

By delivering more interactive and hands-on activities than ever before, Huang hopes to increase membership and awareness of music at Jefferson, but also notes that the school’s culture and environment affects how he runs the club to appeal to new members.

“At TJ, which is so STEM-focused, we have a lot of presentations that relate music to different STEM topics like math and physics to attract some people,” Huang said. “In about 4 weeks, I’ll be giving a presentation on math and music and this talks about how different pitches are created, how pianos get tuned, how autotune works, how your able to take a pitch and correct it on a computer software, and this is used in a lot of industries, and I’ll talk about the ways to tune a classical piano with a bunch of math connected with music.”

Though Music Matters branched off of traditional activities and ventured into a new direction to appeal to a wider audience, Huang does plan to retain some traditions of the club, which proved to be a valuable opportunity that provided both entertainment to its members and to the outside community.

“So last year we partnered up with Happy Notes over winter break and we all went to a retirement home and played a couple of songs for about half-an-hour to an hour,” Huang said. “It was just really fun and it was a nice way to spend the holidays and give back and what better way to spend winter break than jamming with fellow musicians, so I plan on doing that again this year and if I find other opportunities, I’ll reach out to the club and let them know.”

For the near future, Huang shares what he anticipates and where he sees the club going at Jefferson.

“With the club going forward, I would like it to be music focused and more student-run, and I also want it to be fun and relaxing, nothing to stressful because this should be a place where people can relax and enjoy music. In order to attract more people, hopefully, I am going to get some trips arranged maybe to the Kennedy Center, George Mason Performing Center for the Arts, or Wolf Trap Park,” Huang said. “It’s just those kind of opportunities that make this club something special and stand out from other clubs at TJ.