Tuesday, April 2, 2013

VPA Student Spotlight: Ben Holtz

Ben Holtz is a senior double majoring in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and minoring in Music Composition.

1.  Why did you choose to minor in Music Composition at Tech?

I have always been compelled to make music, and have always felt compelled to create. Working with music that someone else created is wonderful, but it doesn’t quite satisfy the need for self expression. Choosing to minor in composition has allowed me to keep music a priority while studying engineering and helped me to sharpen the skills needed to better express through music.

2.  How does having a minor in the arts enhance your experience as a Tech engineering student?

In the long run, It has helped me achieve a much broader perspective on life as a young adult. It has helped to diversify the kinds of people I work with and the kinds of professors I learn from. From a day to day basis, it shakes things up. It would be very boring to have all engineering or all music classes by themselves. Pursuing a minor in music composition balances an engineering degree very nicely.

3.  What is the most important thing you have learned from participating in the arts at Tech?

In engineering studies, I’ve found functional things to be very boring if they are aesthetically lacking. In participating in the arts, I’ve found that all great aesthetics have to have function. These two concepts...function and aesthetic, are not mutually exclusive entities. 

4.    What inspires you?

People. And the crazy things they make.

5.  What are your goals for after graduation?   How will your experiences in music help you to achieve those goals?

Eventually, I hope to have a lifestyle in which practicality and functionality of Engineering combines seamlessly with creativity and serendipity of Art. Working with the composition minor has given me a taste of this; creating good music requires not all creativity and emotion, but also a functional understanding of how sound works in time and why. ‘Good aesthetic has function, and function without aesthetic is boring.’

6.  What advice would you give to other engineering students who want to participate in the arts?

Just go for it!