Timothy Law Snyder may not be the first president to have a passion for music, but he’s certainly the first with his own SoundCloud account. He also might be the last person you’d expect to have this passion. His presidential profile on the LMU website cites that he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University, and also earned a B.A. in psychology, a B.S. in mathematics and a M.S. in mathematics from the University of Toledo. The typical reputation of those interested in math and sciences, otherwise known as “left brains,” don’t gravitate towards the arts. Yet, Snyder’s love of music and the arts is an asset to LMU’s dedication to a well-rounded education. Here are the top three things you should know about Snyder’s past with music:
3. He was an administrator at a music college
For about a year, Snyder was a Visiting Scholar of Liberal Arts and Electronic Production and Design at the Berklee College of Music. He was thrilled by the opportunity, and in a conversation with the Loyolan staff, Snyder said, “I had this fantasy that I could go to Berkelee College of Music. I was stunned at the ways in which they accepted me. The music helped, but my academics helped, too. I think they saw me as a hybrid, so I managed to get in there and spend a year there and really learn about how an arts school works.”
2. He’s mastered multiple instruments
Snyder has demonstrated interest in a diverse range of music and instruments, from percussion to keyboard to guitar, according to his SoundCloud page. Snyder explained, “I used to sing for a living. When I was maybe two to four years younger than most of you, then two to four years older than most of you, I played some guitar with that, and always just messed around with software at home, a lot of composition software."
1. “Uncle Wiggly”
If you check iTunes, “Uncle Wiggly” is Snyder’s only released track. He told the Loyolan about the mechanics and thought process that went into the song, saying, "The 'Wiggly' track is just a very simple blues riff, but put into a rhythmic context that makes it sound a little more bluesy, a little more jumpy. The only thing sophisticated in that track is that the key change is not what you'd [normally] expect. It's largely the same riff over and over, though." We still haven’t figured out the name, but we can definitely vouch that the song makes the Loyolan staff wiggle.
The entire student body can take away a lesson or two from Snyder's passion for music and diverse interests. With our central location in Los Angeles, there are many opportunities to explore one's interests on and off the Bluff. As Snyder told the L.A. Times, "L.A. is one of the most creative places in the world ... and we should take advantage of that.”