Medical school is a demanding time. It's helpful for students to find ways to relax, explore other interests and passions and get to know their classmates.
UCLA offers a vast array of clubs and activities for students that provide great opportunities to take a break from studying and socialize. One of these groups is the UCLA GeffeNotes, a co-ed a cappella group composed of students from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Its welcoming atmosphere and the respite it provides from the daily demands of medical school make it an attractive choice for students who enjoy expressing themselves through music.
Practicing and performing
The group's members are mostly first- and second-year students, but anyone can join at any time during medical school. The minimum commitment is attending a one-hour practice every Monday.
Thomas Luong is a second-year medical student who joined the group during his first year.
"The group is a good way to escape from day-to-day studying and enter a relaxed atmosphere," Thomas says. "An hour a week commitment is reasonable, although it can be challenging for us to learn and prepare a song with just an hour. Anyone can stay longer and continue to practice."
The GeffeNotes perform at two main events during the year: the annual talent show and the Ceremony of Thanks. The group has also recently started working with Mindful Music, a campus program that promotes stress relief through music.
President: Steve Zhou firstname.lastname@example.org
Musical Director: Eric Liaw email@example.com
Community Outreach: Jennifer Cohenmehr firstname.lastname@example.org
Group members: Stephanie Wang, Hannah Leo, Victoria Sun, Lisa Zhang, Sara Arastoo, Peter Konyn, Kaleab Tessema, Sam Zeng, Thomas Luong,
UCLA GeffeNotes recruits singers at orientation where student interest groups share information, but students can join the group at any time. Thomas says that the group is fairly informal, and the easiest way to connect during the school year is to e-mail the president — currently Steve Zhou — and sign up for the group's listserv.
The group welcomes anyone who enjoys singing, not just those who have regularly performed or who have been part of a choir or singing group. It's a great way for incoming students to meet classmates and feel more comfortable at school.
"I've always enjoyed music as more of a hobby. I can't read music, and I was apprehensive about joining," Thomas admits. "The group is very talented, but also accommodating. They don't make you feel uncomfortable about your musical talent. It's a warm, welcoming group.
"I've always looked for a chance to express myself through music, even though it wasn't at the forefront," he continues. "Music is something that connects us and can brighten our day. GeffeNotes is a fun, relaxed group and a great environment for med students."
By Patricia Chaney