TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jazz Bass And Classical Cello Major Rafael Alvarez From Tampa, FL

Raphael standing playing bass.

Today we speak with first generation college student, Rafael Alvarez, who is a transfer from Raritan Valley Community College. Rafael is a senior double major in Jazz Bass performance and Classical Cello. He is originally from Tampa, FL.

Why did you transfer to Rowan?

There were just a lot of opportunities and my brother went here. When I came to audition I met the bass professor and he allowed me to play a bit on the upright. Coming just from eclectic it gave me a lot more opportunities here and I was able to play cello and push that to help me grow.

Raphael standing up playing a bass.

How would you say the professors here are?

They are really helpful. I would say as a performance major especially I had to be really close with my professors and they guided me – walking through and really nurtured me to grow.

Why did you choose your major?

I think originally when I came up to New Jersey music was a little bit a part of me. I played cello, and in 8th or 9th grade I found more opportunities musically. It took up most of my time, I like to write, play listen and so I thought why not do it as a job?

Raphael playing a bass.

What do you want to do with your degree?

In all honesty the end goal is that I just want to make something of myself. But a dream job would be to work in some kind of pit orchestra. I think that would be really cool. I have always loved playing those gigs but I also like a lot of music. I have a lot of aspirations and I just want to get up somewhere I am good financially and then do anything with the orchestra. In the end I am happy making music for myself. So if I can do any of the other stuff then why not.

Raphael sitting with his bass behind him.

Friends that made you feel like home?

Most people are from my major that I am friends with. Everyone is very welcoming and I love the bass studio. They are great people and I have met a lot of people from different ensembles. I am in the orchestra, string ensemble, the jazz band and small groups. 

How do you like Rowan?

I think it is really cool. The teachers have been really great and I feel like I have learned and grown as a person. 

Raphael standing up playing a bass.

Anything else you would like to mention?

I think Rowan is good well balanced school and it really allows you to explore what you want to do and turn it into something. They gave me a lot of opportunities here and I feel like I have been connecting more. Rowan has allowed me to take a step to a more official adult life. This semester with COVID-19, we have had a lot of guest artists come in on Zoom. We have done big workshops or big MASTERclasses which I have been a part of. I got to meet new people, been able to play for people and get criticism on my playing. They comment on our playing and we grow from that. I have been given a lot of playing opportunities and have been exploring my own stuff and new styles. 

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Story and Photography by:  Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major

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