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When music meets math, advisors make it work

Math and music. Most people would think they are very different academic subjects but actually they're very similar, says double-major Jared Reiling '23.

Both of Reiling’s academic advisors were double majors as undergrads, so they understand the importance of a liberal arts education when it comes to encouraging a student's passions.

As a mathematics and piano performance major, Reiling credits them for helping him discover how his two majors are connected.

“On the surface, they might seem vastly different, but underlying ideas are closely related to each other,” said Reiling, from Crystal Lake, Ill. “For the first five weeks of this term, the topics discussed in my Abstract Algebra class were the same in my Musicianship class! Seeing the overlap is fascinating and downright awesome.”

Equally busy outside of class, Reiling recently revived Augustana’s popular Tuesday Evening Listening Society, again with faculty encouragement.

“My professors and advisors are willing to bend over backwards to help me inside and outside the classroom.”

– Jared Reiling '23

“For a couple of years, students used to gather in Bergendoff late on Tuesday nights and listen to symphonies, concertos and operas,” he explained. “However, when the pandemic hit, the Listening Society went down with everything else. With encouragement from my music professors, we got the club back up and running – virtually.” 

He said the group meets at 6:45 on Tuesday nights and every student brings different suggestions and ideas. They listen for about an hour and have a discussion.

"We've been able to perform a concert," Reiling said. "We recorded it but we were able to do it."

One of his favorite aspects of the Listening Society is that students bring different works to the table. “We listen to all sorts of music, most of it I didn't even know existed!”

In fact, the Listening Society is where Reiling first heard Brahms’ 1st Rhapsody in B Minor, a piece he performed in his most recent student recital. A student brought it to the table one night, and Reiling has loved it ever since.

“My professors and advisors are willing to bend over backwards to help me inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “Thank you Dr. Elfline, Mrs. Ellis and Doc (James Lambrecht) for all your support during rehearsal, in class, and for helping me restart the Listening Society!

"Being part of a small community, you get to meet so many cool and unique people," he said. "I think at Augustana, you know especially the music department, is kind of like a family. You know we could always rely on each other."

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