Go to Middleton Library at the right time, and you might be serenaded.
Music in Middleton started in September 2017 and is now in its second season. The program, which allows students to sign up to play once a month in Middleton Library, has been met with enthusiasm by stressed-out students.
LSU Libraries music resource supervisor Mikel LeDee said the survey the library did on the program received 100 percent approval. He said part of the charm of the program is that students can decide how much they want to listen to.
LeDee said the program gives students a chance to relax between classes. While students are getting coffee or studying, they can hear music.
“If you’re in a concert hall, you’re in until the end,” LeDee said. “Here, you may just have a few minutes in between [classes], you want to enjoy this for a few minutes.”
The program takes place once a month on the first floor of Middleton at noon when the library is most crowded. Any students who want to play can sign up, though spots fill quickly as the event only lasts one hour. The majority of students playing are music majors looking to showcase their skills.
LeDee said one of the best parts of the program was the interaction between music students and the general students, along with the promotion of different types of music.
“It provides them an opportunity to find a different audience and it provides the people in the library an opportunity to hear something they might not be aware of,” LeDee said. “Most of the students perform in the School of Music to their peers, and so I thought there’s something that they could both share.”
It seems to be working as numbers for Music in Middleton steadily increase. At the first concert, there was a little more than 30 students, and since then attendance has almost doubled. The next concert on Nov. 6 is also expected to be well-attended. The music played is chosen by the students, who are trusted to manage themselves.
“We’ve had string quartets [and] solo works,” LeDee said. “The students put the work together themselves. We don’t have any issues with what they’re doing. We assume they’re professionals, and we treat it like a professional performance. They decide what they want to play, rehearse the pieces themselves and perform. We provide the venue, and they provide the service.”
LeDee said he hopes to expand the program and is scouting locations like the Art + Design Studio. He wants to reach greater student audiences, and give students more opportunities to perform, since more students want to play than can fit in the one-hour time slot.
Most of all, LeDeeand the other faculty members want Music in Middleton to work as part of their student outreach efforts, to draw more students into the library, and have the library be a valuable resource to students.
“The role of the library is changing,” LeDee said. “We want to bring people into the libraries. [It’s] more than just a place where we house books. It’s a very active place.”