Here at Northeastern there are hundreds of great student organizations to get involved in! We want to highlight some organizations that you may not know, so we’re interviewing members of student organizations to learn a little bit about them and what their club is about. Tune in every other week for a new post from The Club Chronicle!
The Club Chronicle Interview #8: NU Songwriting Club
Interview conducted on February 25th, 2019
Can you tell me about yourself and why you joined the Songwriting Club?
My name is Matt Burmeister, I’m a third year civil engineering major. Started with the songwriting club in fall freshman year. I saw them tabling at Fall Fest and I was like wow that sounds like a cool club, I should join. I’ve played music my whole life, but never wrote songs until I came to college. It was a nice break from the whole science math thing that I do. So that’s why I kept going.
What’s your position and how long have you held it?
I am the president. I’ve been president for a year now.
What does your club do here on campus?
We basically provide a space for student musicians to share their songs and music. We try to do that in weekly meetings and in performance opportunities. We try to give each other feedback to improve our songwriting ability. Every week we’ll give out a prompt then the next week we check in and people share what they’ve written based off that prompt. We then provide constructive criticism and comments.
What kind of prompts do you give out?
Sometimes it’s structurally based, so write a song in half an hour or write a song while you’re doing something or write a song in the time it takes to do something. Sometimes it’s more thematic so write a song about love or write a song about heartbreak. Sometimes it could be perspective based so write a song from the perspective of this inanimate object or this person. We try to do all our prompts in one of those styles. We’ve had the idea of writing a song in a musical style or certain keys, but we try to make it accessible for all levels of musicians so sometimes those aren’t really good for everyone. We try to be as inclusive as we can with the prompt.
What kinds of events do you put on?
Every semester I try to organize a songwriting open mic in AfterHours. So far it’s just been one semester because AfterHours is busy but I’d like to do more. We also have an all nighter every semester which is a night when we lock ourselves in Ryder Hall and write music for the entirety of the night. Those are the big ones. Also, they’re not our events, but we send out emails about any open mics happening on campus or at local venues. We try to give ourselves a good 6 or 7 opportunities to perform every semester.
Photo from an Open Mic Night in Afterhours
What is your favorite event you’ve been a part of?
I already mentioned the all nighter, that’s one of my favorites. It’s not really an event, but for the past two calendar years, we’ve tried to record an album with Green Line Records. We’re kind of running a little slow this year, so I’m not sure when that will be released, but last year we released one at the end of spring. That was a fun thing to be a part of. I didn’t have any prior studio experience so it nice to work with people who had creative input for my music.
How do you normally advertise your events?
I usually just send out an email but now we have an Instagram. We’ve always had a Facebook page but had never really been updated. Recently we introduced a social media coordinator position so he now takes care of our Facebook and Instagram. Posts kind of align with emails, because sometimes not everyone wants to read an email and it’s better to post about things on social media.
What are your social media handles?
Instagram is @huskysongwriters. Facebook is NU songwriting club.
How can students get involved?
It’s very easy, we’re a relaxed club. The constitutional policy is that if you show up to one meeting you count as a member of the club. Usually at any activities fairs we’re tabling and you can get added to our emails list. Other than that you can just show up to our meeting and we’ll sign you up to our email list and then you’ll be up to date on everything we do. Our social media coordinator is proactive in reaching out to people that might not go to the activities fairs and adding them to the network through social media.
Do you meet regularly? If so, when?
Every week on Wednesdays at 8pm in Ryder 233. Hasn’t changed since i was a freshman.
How many students are involved?
That’s a bit of a tricky question, we have a varying degree of attendance at weekly meetings. People who show up every week probably number at around 20, people who are on the email list are 323. That includes a lot of students who might have graduated or are not really involved at all, they have the opportunity to remove themselves from that list cause it’s through mailchimp. We have a lot of people who are exposed to it, even though not a lot of people usually show up. Every semester I would say there are 50 people who come to at least 1 meeting. First meeting of every semester we always have a lot of people, I counted 55 this year. Usually plateaus as the semester goes on.
Photo from an Open Mic Night in Afterhours
What’s one thing you wished people knew about your club?
I wish people knew how easy it is to be a part of this. A lot of people send me emails asking what do I have to do to join the club and is it ok if it’s halfway through the semester and I still come to a meeting. I can’t emphasize enough how much we want to see different people there. Meetings are open to anybody of all levels, you don’t have to write songs to come to a songwriting club meeting. You don’t have to share you can just sit and listen. We’re all about the love of music and sharing that among each other
What is your favorite part about your club?
In general there is a really positive atmosphere and it’s a lot less of a business type relationship than a lot of other clubs I’ve seen. It’s very friendly and I would go so far as to say it’s sort of like family. Everyone is friends and it’s a really safe and positive environment. I think that is something that is hard to replicate.