For senior music major, Anna Boyles, it’s not just the notes and instruments that give her studies meaning, but the impact they can have when it comes to loving and serving others well. “For me, music has always been an outlet. I think it can help people who are struggling with other issues and serve as their outlet.”
When moving her older brother in to Northwestern College, Anna became intrigued with the campus atmosphere. After speaking with the soccer coach at the time, she felt that NW would be a good fit for her to further both her music and soccer career. However, after receiving a concussion in her freshman soccer season, Boyles quickly began to appreciate the community she had in both the soccer team and from the music department. “The music department is like one big family. When I walk into the building, there’s automatic acceptance.” Now in her senior season, Boyles is serving as a student coach and is glad to have had the support systems in place to help her along every step in the journey.
Within the music department itself, Boyles says she’s really enjoyed her conversations with Dr. Holm and Dr. Kong. “I’ve really enjoyed talking to them about their music knowledge, but also just about how they got to where they are and about anything else going on in our lives.” Though Boyles has never had class with Dr. Holt, she noted that their time together in voice lessons has been a lot of fun with the energy Dr. Holt brings to the department.
Regarding what she appreciates about music, Boyles prefers singing to playing instruments, but is currently learning how to play the guitar and has enjoyed the experience.
Additionally, her upbringing in Kentucky has given her an appreciation for bluegrass music and its instrumental components.
In high school music classes, Boyles noted that students with special needs were often part of the choir, and this helped her see that music can be used as a way of building belonging and loving people well. With this experience, Boyles decided that music therapy would be a field she might enjoy working in. Thus, she decided to pursue a psychology minor in addition to her music major.
“I think it’s really interesting how music affects the brain, and I think it can be a powerful tool in helping people and letting them express themselves through a creative outlet,” said Boyles.
Because of her experience in high school choir, Boyles would like to use her music therapy expertise working in a school. Currently looking into graduate programs, she mentioned that if she didn’t work in music therapy immediately following her time at NW, she’d like to work in the missions field.
“It would be really cool to use music in the mission field,” said Boyles, “but I think the personal skills I’ve acquired through being a part of the music department have helped me more when it comes to meeting people where they’re at and helping walk alongside them.”
Boyles spoke highly of her recent SOS experience in Alaska over the summer, noting that even though she thought Alaska was the last place she’d go, she found that it was where God needed her to be during that season.
These relationships she built in Alaska helped her see how much her personal and relational skills have grown during her time in the music department. “You’ll get out of it what you put into it. When classes are hard, it’s good to have relationships with those in the department who can help you work through whatever you’ve got going on. And the whole experience itself is just a lot more fun with other people.”
Anna Boyles has been a treasure to NW’s campus these past four years, whether it’s performing on stage, helping run soccer practice or just hanging around with friends, she leaves a lasting impression. No matter where Boyles ends up come May 14, she has some parting wisdom for anyone new to campus: “Don’t procrastinate.”