Huskie Spotlight: Matthew Kiser

Huskie Spotlight: Matthew Kiser

Matthew Kiser
Bachelor’s in Music Performance, emphasis in Steelpan Studies

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Matthew KiserAs a kid, my interests were always evolving and changing. I always was interested in music, but I felt like I hadn’t found my voice yet. That all changed when I joined my high school Steelband. I loved playing the instrument and picked it up very quickly. As soon as I heard about NIU, I knew it was the place for me.

What is your favorite thing about studying and/or playing music at NIU?
One of my favorite parts of studying music at NIU is getting to collaborate with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. As a member of the NIU Steelband and Steelpan Studio, I got to interact, learn from and become friends with people from the Caribbean and all over the United States.

Why did you choose NIU to study music?
I chose NIU because it is the only university in the country to offer both an undergraduate and graduate degree with an emphasis on the Steelpan as a primary instrument. Also, I could not pass up an opportunity to play with one of the world’s best, if not the best, Steelpan players in the world, Liam Teague.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why?
Easily professor Liam Teague, director of the NIU Steelband and my primary lessons instructor. Not only is Liam an amazing player, but he is a fantastic educator who truly cares about all of his students.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
The East Lagoon. It is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day!

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Follow your passion, whatever it is. You are going to be spending a lot of time studying your chosen degree, so it better be something you are truly passionate about!

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I had to learn how to manage my time more effectively. Juggling music classes, gen eds and rehearsals was a daunting task as a freshman and is something I had to adapt to overtime.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
Playing video games, watching a movie, or taking a walk outside are all things I like to do to relax.

Huskie Spotlight: Izabella Gieron

Huskie Spotlight: Izabella Gieron

Izabella Gieron

Izabella GieronSpring 2021 graduate, Bachelor’s in Music Education and Violin Performance, Independent Study in Orchestral Conducting

“I decided to study these majors because I want to be able to share my knowledge and passion for music through playing, teaching, and conducting.”

What is your favorite thing about studying and/or playing music at NIU?
One of my favorite things about NIU is having the opportunity to collaborate and perform with the faculty such as the Avalon String Quartet.

Are you involved in any student organizations or extra-curricular activities?
I am the President of the National Association of Music Education Student Chapter as well as the Vice President of the American String Teacher Association at NIU.  These chapters have shaped me into being a leader and have given me opportunities to collaborate with guest speakers as well as the community.

Why did you choose NIU to study music?
I decided to study music at NIU because I had the opportunity to study violin with Blaise Magniere and also the wonderful Music Education program that has given me many opportunities.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why?
The School of Music has wonderful faculty that I enjoy working with however, there are a few that have been my mentors since the beginning of my time here at NIU. My favorite professors at the School of Music are Blaise Magniere (Violin), Dr. Mary Lynn Doherty (Music Education), Dr. Christine D’Alexander (Music Education), and Dr. Benjamin Firer (Orchestral conducting). These professors have shaped me into the person and musician that I am today and I am very thankful for all of the opportunities and knowledge that they have shared with me.