We have collected hundreds of personal narratives from students, alumni, faculty, and staff that explain the merits and strengths of Oberlin through the eyes of those who have experienced it firsthand.
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On choosing an Oberlin path

Brenna Larson ’14
“My Oberlin career, like many, has been far from linear, and I am glad that I have strayed from my plan. A planner at heart, changing gears, changing life goals, was a rocky and emotional process,...

On Oberlin’s composition students

Prof. Lewis Nielson
“It’s routine for me to be told by our guests that our students are the best they encounter anywhere in the world, not just for the quality of the works they display but also for the incisiveness of...

On Oberlin’s inclusive music scene

Charles Abbott ’14
“Collaboration plays a fundamental role in the community’s constant appetite for great art. This inclusivity is indicative of the communal Oberlin personality that makes it such an incredible place.”

On founding Oberlin Songwriters

Rob Jamner ’17
“In just a few weeks I met a number of students and community members who shared my passion for songwriting.”

On the common language of music

Claire Coleman ’17
“In trying to redefine myself in a new place and establish my new identity as an Oberlin student, I soon realized that what had once made me stand out instead now connected me to everyone around me.”

On learning to play the Gamelan

Sean Hanson ’11
“...the difficulty helps me begin to lose my identity in the group and let me center myself. It’s become a way of life for me, and changed the way I view everything around me.”

On playing Carnegie Hall

Hannah Levinson ’09
“I never truly understood the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra until I played under Robert Spano ’83.”

On Oberlin students singing Sondheim songs... for Sondheim

Steven Roth ’77
“The students sang some of the more difficult songs in the Sondheim canon and nailed each one - fully knowing that he was backstage listening to them.”

On starting a band at Oberlin

Jamie Helmsworth ’13
“The music scene is merely a symptom of an infectious enthusiasm that pervades Oberlin’s student body. The zeal with which students here plunge themselves into their personal pursuits is unparalleled...

On being a part of OCTaiko

Yue Qiu ’14
“...being a good taiko drummer is not so much having the perfect techniques; it is more a commitment to being part of a group that shares the same energy and tries to figure out the key to ki...

On his voice teacher, Kendra Colton ’83

Jeffrey Hill ’09
“She taught with a firm, guided, and encouraging hand, but always listened openly to my thoughts and ideas. She allowed me to find my own voice instead of telling me what I should be.”

On creating Yafo Harmony

Zach Resnick ’16
“I proposed a program that combined all my passions—social justice, music, and language learning—and with a generous CIGSIE grant, I was able to bring it to life in Yafo.”

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