By Alyssa Velazquez, Staff Writer
Whether you’re at a basketball game or in Thomas Hall, the rhythmic sounds and melodies of Manhattan College’s Pep Band can be heard with their instructor Jake Robinson, right by their side.
With every basketball game, there is a pep band, and with every pep band there is an instructor like Robinson. Robinson is a freelance musician, a part-time teacher at a local school in White Plains and now holds a part-time position here at the college as pep band’s instructor.
Despite Robinson already being a teacher, working at MC is actually his first experience teaching at the college level. “Most of the students that I work with are high school, middle school and elementary school kids. so working with college students, I was really happy to get this opportunity,” Robinson said. “Teaching at the college level is something I wanted to get into more, so this is the first time I’ve actually been in front of students of this age.”
With this, it is expected that the transition for Robinson, and even the pep band, may have been a challenge at times, especially since this is Robinson’s first semester working at MC.
For Morgan Seger, a senior member of the pep band, Robinson is her fourth instructor since she has been a band member. He states that the process to settle into a position such as instructor “takes time that could otherwise be used to get stuff done.”
Knowing the amount of time it can take for a band to become comfortable with an instructor and vice versa, Robinson wants to continue as the instructor for semesters to come in order to “bring some consistency” to the band.
As the new instructor, Robinson aims to improve upon the music of the already well-regarded band. “My main focus with the group has really been to get the music to sound even better than it was,” he said. “The band is held pretty high regard in terms of the pep bands in the MAAC conference, but there are still some areas where we can do some things better.”
Despite being at the college for nearly one semester, Robinson’s impact on the group has already become evident for members such as Seger. “With a strong director, you are more likely to have a stronger group and he has definitely been able to improve our music, our abilities, tone; all the qualities that give you a good sound to perform,” she said. “But, he also gives us a maturity level that I think a lot of the pep bands need to have.”
According to the pep band president Christopher Urban-Klein, Robinson has “had a bigger emphasis on improving musically and he has brought a sense of professionalism to the band.” “What we’re trying to achieve is to be the best sounding band as possible. That is what he has been emphasizing during rehearsals,” Urban-Klein said.
For the future, the MC community can expect “great songs and a lot of new stuff” from the pep band that are “going to sound awesome” thanks to the fact that “[Robinson] is so musically talented,” according to Urban-Klein.
With the collaboration of the student run band and their instructor Jake Robinson, the community definitely has plenty to look forward to in the coming semester.