Drumroll, Please!

Santa Clara University’s renovated jazz studio gives music majors and non-majors more space to find their sound.

At any moment in a nondescript building that once held a bank vault just off campus, you might find a drum practice, album recording, or jam session. But you might not hear it. That’s thanks to renovations to Benton Street Studios, home to Santa Clara University’s jazz program.

Director Carl Schultz says the process of treating the rooms for acoustics and expanding recording capabilities is ongoing but “students have taken a higher level of ownership now that the physical aspects of the building are improved.”

This includes one student who’s begun a bi-monthly jazz jam session, giving musicians from all over campus a chance to meet and make music together. That student, Kyle Kinard ’24, says the improvements mean they’ll be able to produce high-quality recordings—something a lot of students are interested in learning and pursuing after college. “Now, as a student, you get to see your individual voice come to life.”

Kinard grew up playing instruments but didn’t have a lot of technical experience upon enrolling in college. But at Santa Clara, “you can improve over time… the music department caters to all skill levels, which gave me the opportunity to improve at my own pace. I feel like that’s not something you get at bigger music schools,” he says. Plus, music is accessible to everyone at SCU, jazz musicians and engineering majors alike. “A lot of people from other departments come to music for a creative outlet.”

Madysen Moreno ’24 says the renovated space “has been an absolute sanctuary for students who are trying to build themselves up as artists.” As a self-taught guitarist who initially planned to major in environmental studies with the goal of becoming a lawyer, Moreno says she’s learned a lot of skills here beyond music composition that could translate into a career in the music industry, such as recording, mixing, and editing. Currently, she’s using the studio space to record a second album with her band, Madxsen.

The renovations were funded by a generous gift from Jennifer Maxwell, a Bronco parent and drummer, who says, “A music-friendly and inspirational space will drive existing musicians to play at a higher level, and beginning students to work harder.”

Editor’s note: Kyle Kinard’s name was spelled wrong in an earlier version of this story. We regret the error.

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