What is SILS Music Club
SILS Music Club (SMC) was established 2008 as a club where students from Waseda University’s School of Liberal Arts could come together and appreciate and perform live music. Since then, SMC has expanded to include exchange students at Waseda University and students from other faculties as well. Currently, SMC has around 150 members, with members from all parts of the world.
Although there is a primary focus on pop and rock music, members also perform jazz and acoustic sets. Given the popularity of J-rock and J-pop, it should not come as a surprise that these are the genres that students choose to perform most.
Juggling Classes and Commitments
During the semester, there is a gig every month. In preparation, there is one organized meeting where members decide what bands they would like to join and what music they would like to perform. This meeting is usually held at the start of the month. It’s a great way to meet new people, and mingle with people who have the same music interests as you. During the meeting other details such as the venue locations and timings are announced.
There is no minimum required attendance to meet; your involvement with the club is up to you. This is one reason SMC is really attractive to students; students are afraid of commitments. They fear that classes maybe affected, and they will not get enough time to do other things they want to. Personally, I found it easy to balance my academics with my SMC commitments. As a member you are not required to participate in every event, and it allows you to prioritize your time according to your needs.
Membership fees and other costs
To become a member, you are required to pay ¥1000 per semester. As a member of SMC, you are entitled to discounted studio time at studios which have partnered with SMC. However, you also have to take into account the costs of performing at gigs as well. Since SMC has to rent out the whole venue for gigs, each performer can expect to pay between ¥1500 to ¥2000 per gig.
Traditionally after each live gig, there is also an after-party with food and drinks to celebrate the end of another successful event. These parties will set you back about ¥2500 to ¥3000. They do sound expensive, however these after-parties usually serve all you can eat food and drinks.
My experience so far
I’ve been playing guitar for almost 7 years now. Back in Singapore, I never really gave performing too much thought as I personally didn’t think I had it in me to perform. I’ve always been stage shy and stuck to playing in my bedroom. However, after joining SMC, performing took on another meaning. Seeing students passionately sing their favorite songs in front of their friends, showed me that performing was not what I had imagined it to be.
Since then, I’ve performed at two gigs, one for “Waseda Sai” (早稲田祭), and one this past February. As a freshmen in Waseda, I thought it would be hard for me to find friends to play with, but the circle has been really welcoming and they helped ease in the transition really well. Like I mentioned above, I don’t really have any issues trying to juggle both my academics and commitments. However, I would add that the costs of performing is something to be considered.
I think it’s important that every student gets into a club or society that allows them to develop personally. Personal growth is important, and new experiences allow students to discover things about them that they did not know.