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Making their own beat

Contemporary Ensemble class helps students discover new genres

Felicia Xiong, Staff Writer

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Ever since he was 9, senior Sam Lallman has adored music and enjoyed playing the guitar. At the age of 11, he started recording songs and decided he wanted to pursue a career in music production.   

Lallman has been posting his music on various websites including iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. His songs have received a lot of streams, and he has even been able to make revenue from it. Contemporary Ensemble class allows Lallman to explore this creativity.

Director of Orchestras and Performing Arts Head Debbie Martinez teaches Contemporary Ensemble class and is consistently impressed by Lallman’s work.

“I really enjoy his work. He makes music for fun, and his songs sound really cool like music you would purchase on Spotify,” Martinez said.

Contemporary Ensemble class was developed six years ago in order to provide an outlet for students who don’t fit into the traditional choir, orchestra, and band realm. Additionally, it allows students to take initiative and make their own music instead of being confined to music written by a composer.

“There is so much creativity in Contemporary Ensemble class. All of these different people have the same passion for music, and it’s very diverse,” junior Kenny Au said.

In order to produce unique music for an assignment or just on his own time, Lallman will draw insight from his environment. Everyday occurrences can spark interest and form the basis of a tune.

“A sound just pops into my head and I’ll play a beat on drums set. I’ll play on the guitar like a synth line, and then I usually start to put it into a recording,” Lallman said.

One of the most difficult facets of producing music is finding a spark of creativity; many students struggle with idea formulation during the producing process.

“A lot of students feel that they have to be inspired in order to create but if you talk to anybody who is involved in creating like writers, visual artists, musicians, a lot of it is just building a habit,” Martinez said.

Lallman is extremely talented with instruments, playing bass, drums, and piano, along with the guitar. He often records original sound bites of his playing to mix into his songs. However, playing music is completely different from producing music.

“When you’re playing music out loud, you don’t have to worry about mixing. You only have to worry about the final product,” Lallman said. “When you’re finishing a song, you have to perfect it and it’s a little scarier because of its permanence compared to just playing music.”

The next step for Lallman is to hopefully secure a professional career in music. Next year, he plans on getting involved in the music production and technology program at the University of Omaha.

“I love finding people that are inspired, relate, or enjoy the stuff that I create. I just love being a creator and having people have some sort of connection with it whether it’s just simple enjoyment or it inspires them to create their own things,” Lallman said.

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Making their own beat