ESN has organized a range of jam sessions for students the coming six weeks, of which the first was held this Monday, the 24th of October. From 20:00 to 22:00, ESN had reserved two studios and band coaches to give the musicians a chance to play their instruments together.

Jonah Kotzer, an exchange student from Canada, explains it’s quite difficult for him to find a place to play: ‘I play drums, and couldn’t take my own set with me to Rotterdam. I’ve tried playing in music stores, but they sent me away. So this is a great opportunity for me to get my hands on a drum set again.’

Lack of instruments

So what is behind this new ESN initiative? Jasper Westerveld of ESN says he knew some internationals who really wanted to play music, but didn’t have an instrument to actually do it. By cooperating with Erasmus Cultuur and SKVR (an arts and culture organization in Rotterdam), Jasper and two other international students organized these jam sessions together. Jasper explains the aim of this project: ‘The overall goal is to create a band, or several bands, and to let them perform somewhere in Rotterdam at the end of the jam sessions.’

‘I can’t play reggae on my own’

The students split up into two studios and start to play. In one room, Marjolein Schippers, a Dutch Arts and Media student, is singing Son of a Preacher Man.  She has performed in the J-building on EUR before. ‘We got some really nice reactions to those performances. Now I just sing at home, but I’d love to join a band.’

 In the other room, Bryan van Putten, a Dutch Master student in Media and Culture, is jamming with three other musicians. Bryan tells about his experience in playing music: ‘I’ve been into music since I was nine. I’m a singer-songwriter, but playing with a band is different. You just can’t play reggae all by yourself, you know.’ And indeed, Bryan and his fellow musicians play not only Bob Marley, but also Kings of Leon and Nirvana.

After the session is over, the reactions are very positive. Jonah: ‘I didn’t expect a lot except for a drum set to play on, but I found some likeminded people and really enjoyed myself here.’ Patrick Keller, a Swiss exchange student, is also enthusiastic about the first session: ‘It was cool. I’m definitely planning on going the next time.’


On this first jamming session, only eight students were present, as several other couldn’t make it due to exams. The coming five weeks, ESN will organize a jam session every Monday. If you want to jam along, go to the ESN Rotterdam Music group on Facebook, and join the musicians! IS