From the Dean's Desk

The role music plays in my life

Happy start to the spring 2023 semester! 

Earlier this month, I attended the International Arrival and Welcome and had the pleasure of chatting with students. This is a rare treat for me and I relish in getting to know our graduate students better. Our conversation led to how music plays an important role in our lives. It was enlightening to hear students talk about how influential music is in their lives and I couldn’t help reminiscing about what music means to me.

Dean Wentz Playing Instrument


Apart from enjoying streaming music and the occasional live show, I also play the trombone and piano. They are both integral forms of expression for me and tap into my energy in critical ways. 

I listen to music to regulate my mood. Music helps me concentrate for hours at a time –  keeping me from being distracted by things like text messages or emails popping up on my screens. I listen to music with strong beats when I’m looking to energize myself or if I’m overly energized, I put on mellow music to calm myself down. I think it is important for people to find music that they resonate with, which also helps relieve stress.  Sometimes when I listen to classical music, I feel a connection to the ages and it makes me think about the lives of the people who lived in the 17th and 18th Centuries and I wonder how that music made them feel.

 I also like how music can challenge my brain, like when I’m trying to learn to play something or learn the words of a specific song. For me, music can also bring up good memories. There is nothing like a particular song that can jar a memory and bring back those feelings. There are some songs that have prompted me to contact friends who have drifted out of my life. Music has helped me feel connected with people and makes me remember things about my parents that warm my heart.

 I just love how music can balance emotions and soothe the soul after a stressful day or connect people.

What role does music play in your life?


Elizabeth A. Wentz
Vice Provost and Dean
Graduate College