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Rock and roll all night, party everyday with ASU's Rock Band class

Gammage II
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is pictured facing Mill Avenue in Tempe on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.

ASU's Rock Band class is the new sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll — except without the sex and and the drugs. So basically it's all rock 'n' roll. 

Directed by faculty associate Joseph Felice, MUS 294 has become a favorite at ASU among music and non-music students, alike.  

When asked how long he's been playing music, he laughed and said "too long." Having completed his doctorate degree at ASU in classical guitar, Felice took over teaching the Rock Band class four years ago. 

The class is offered through the School of Music at the Herberger Institute and typically caps at about 40 students. During each semester, students form their own bands. They create band names, write their own songs, perform covers and more. 

Students are given time to rehearse in class but are required to take the time outside of class to rehearse as well. Each semester also has an end of the year concert in which all the bands perform. 

The class is not sorted based on ability, so students are all able to learn from each other despite their musical background or lack thereof. 

"It’s an opportunity to take a break from physics and all the other demands of school and come and have a really great time," Felice said. "It’s not just you and a book, it’s you and a bunch of other people."

Bandmates film senior Tyler Goldstein and electrical engineering freshman Max Rodewald, said the class is still beneficial for students who aren't music majors. 

"If you’re into music at all, this is the best course you can take," Goldstein said. 

Rodewald said most of the students in the course aren't primarily music majors and that taking this class allows students to still enjoy something they love.

They also gave rave reviews of the course's professor, saying his open attitude and teaching style are a big reason why students take the course. 

"(Felice) lets everyone discover what they're interested in," Rodewald said. "It's total musical freedom."

Goldestein and Rodewald are both members of the band Beatless, a group that covers songs by The Beatles. 

For physics sophomore Brandon Palafox, the biggest benefit of taking Rock Band was growing socially and as an individual. 

"If it weren’t for me taking Rock Band, I would be a lot different today," Palafox said.

He also said by taking the course, he's learned to work well with others and make connections. Palafox is a member of the band The Outlets and has taken the class twice.

First-year digital culture transfer Gabby Nacion said even though the class is male-dominated, there is still room and respect for female musicians. 

"Women have played a big role in rock music," she said. "It’s really about what you can bring to the table."

Nacion said the class gives credit and recognition to some of the most successful female rockers in music, like Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. She also said that she feels a sense of empowerment from rock music and aspires to be like some of the greats.

"All that matters is whether you’re going to rock or not," she said.

Related links:

ASU According To You: A music therapy student

A male-dominated Arizona rock scene can't stop Ana Log from rising to the top

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