Music lessons and jam sessions

Musical talent and YouTube brought teen sensation Justin Bieber into the spotlight. Now, the two come together once again to help Youngstown State University students.

Whether students are trying to become the next YouTube sensation or just looking to have some fun, a new organization on campus — MLJSIC, which is pronounced “music” — extends both options.

MLJSIC founder Matthew Rivera said the acronym represents the club’s goals: music lessons, jam sessions, inspiration and cooperation.

The club offers musical lessons as well as help creating YouTube videos. Rivera, a freshman, said he frequently updates his YouTube channel, uploading random videos of him singing or recapping the day.

Although YSU has the Dana School of Music, Rivera wondered how to incorporate a contemporary spin on classical music and give students a place to learn more popular genres.

Through MLJSIC, he also intends to schedule time with members to assist them in learning an instrument and assembling videos.

Rivera concocted the idea for the club in the first week of fall semester. Multiple people requested guitar lessons from him, but the demands soon became chaotic. With a club, he could offer time slots and eventually incorporate more musical tutors.

Freshman Alec Harkabus said the club is innovative and  he hopes to join.

“Personally, I grew up with musical ideas. It has always made life seem better having music around,” he said. “I always thought, ‘Man, I wish I could play this instrument. That sounds cool.’ This is nice way to outreach to other people who have that same idea and actually make that a possibility for them.”

With high costs of musical lessons, MLJSIC appeals to sophomore Katie McCullough.

“I think it’s a great idea, considering my boyfriend does something like that and gets paid by YouTube. He’s a musician and helps other bands make music videos. He can make up to $1,000 a month,” she said.

Rivera said he works around students’ schedules and plans to make it as easy as possible to learn an instrument. He offers to meet off campus and will bring an extra guitar, if needed.

Besides lending a hand to others, Rivera rehearses and performs for fun.

As an instrumental performance major specializing in guitar, Rivera plays both the acoustic and electric guitars, which means that he’s capable of performing multiple genres.

“I’m not Jimi Hendrix,” Rivera said. “But I can play pretty well. I’m trying to teach people what I can. If they can get better than I can, let them do that. The more people I can teach means the more people I can collaborate with, the more people to jam with and the more people who can teach me stuff.”

In addition to the guitar, Rivera plays piano and ukulele.

Rivera said he is working on organizing the first MLJSIC meeting. Membership is $5 but includes music lessons and other assistance. Rivera said he would never implement an additional charge, regardless of the amount of lessons received or videos made.

“If you want to learn an instrument that one of us knows, you can come to the group and learn. If you know an instrument and want to learn more about it or just jam, come,” Rivera said, “If you do art, poetry or make YouTube videos, come and see who can help you out.”

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