MA and MMUS student, Rumble Fellow
After pursuing his undergrad at Wayne State, Kyle Canjar knew there was nowhere else he’d rather pursue a graduate degree. Smack in the middle of a cultural epicenter, the open campus neighbors numerous concert locations and venues.
“I’ve already gotten to know where gigs routinely are and have met various artists,” he says, “a number of whom have direct links to Wayne State”—a bonus for a fledging guitarist studying music in historic Motown.
Kyle’s research focuses on classic guitar and Brazilian music, including samba and forró, and its European and African influences. During his undergrad, he lived in Brazil for a year to explore genres and acclimate to the culture. Seeing how instruments are used in other cultures is enlightening, he says. It has expanded his repertoire, allowed him to better connect with diverse audiences, instruments, and get in the headspace of acclaimed musicians who came before.
The course Music History lent a similar eye-opening experience. “I had to write a research paper on one of the instruments I play. Analyzing its inner workings made me a better performer, a better teacher.” It made him realize there’s always more to learn.
Like most scholars, he’s not only on the receiving end of teachable moments; he also teaches at Flint School of Performing Arts. “Being able to take what I’ve learned and teach it to people from different socio-economic backgrounds is fulfilling,” he says. No matter who you are or where you’re from, music is something everyone can relate to.
Another learning opportunity for Kyle came along in the Lullaby Project, a Carnegie Hall endeavor that pairs expecting or new parents with musicians to create personal lullabies. He finished a lullaby last spring, was invited back and is currently composing another. He says participating has been an honor and a truly rewarding experience.
Kyle has time to pursue these extra endeavors thanks, in part, to the Thomas C. Rumble University Graduate Fellowship. “It allows me time to research, practice, and even update my musical equipment. The fellowship also gives me confidence in what I’m pursuing, because I have a college that believes in what I’m doing.”
After graduating, Kyle wants to pursue what he’s doing now—writing and composing, arranging, performing, and teaching.
His advice for graduate students? Take advantage of the faculty in your program. They have connections and can help students network. And “Let whatever you do be driven by your interests.” You’re pursuing this degree for you, after all.