Story by Lauren Scott
Finals week… most students cringe when they hear these two words. All it means to most is a week spent in the library, headphones on, coffee in hand, and face buried deep in books and computers. The words “fun,” “creative” and “exhilarating” aren’t used to describe this experience. But for students in TH264 Lighting Design Fundamentals, this is exactly how they would describe their final.
On Thursday, May 12, lighting students will take the stage — guitars, microphones and drumsticks in hand — waiting for their favorite rock song to queue up on Rock Band. That’s right — their final is playing a video game, but with a twist. Every student is required to create a lighting design for one of the songs and then form a four-person band to perform and show off their lighting skills in front of a live audience.
Professor Price Johnston began using Rock Band in his classroom when it first came out in 2005, and found that it allowed students to connect to the course material in a more creative manner. Johnston quickly figured out that there had to be a way for him to do something more with this approach, and so the Rock Band Project was born.
Since it first took the stage by storm eight years ago, the project has grown into an event students plan ahead to attend, showing up as they would for any other concert and ready to rock out. And now, other universities are putting together their own Rock Band Concerts, thanks to Johnston’s article “How I Did That: Rock and Load with Rock Band” in Live Design magazine.
So prepare to release your inner rock star and support these impressive lighting students at their free concert in the University Theater this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It will be a show you definitely don’t want to miss.