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Self-Taught W&L Musician Publishes First Album

When she entered college, Julie Slonecki was a self-taught musician who could not read music. Two years later, as a junior music major at Washington and Lee University, Slonecki has released her own indie rock album, “Borders.”

Although music has always inspired her, Slonecki attributes her growth as a musician to classes like Music Theory and to professors like Terry Vosbein.

“The more I learn of music theory, the more I am fascinated and utterly absorbed by music,” said Slonecki. “Professor Vosbein has taught me most of what I know about how music all fits together. He is very relaxed and comfortable with his students, and we always manage to have fits of roaring laughter in class. I hope one day to be as fluid as he is in talking about music and analyzing chords.”

Slonecki is the women’s section leader in University Chorus, the musical director of the a cappella group General Admission, a work-study student for the Music Department, and a DJ for WLUR, the university’s radio station.
In addition, she plays in a band composed of Washington and Lee students, Rikki Tikki Tavi. Fellow band members are senior Will Stewart, senior Michael Morella and junior Robert Wason. Slonecki performs vocals and plays the guitar, drums and keyboards.

A distinct part of Slonecki’s music is her originality – she has written and produced all of the music on her own. She says that anything can inspire her: “It could be the weather, a certain moment, a feeling. However, I’m not usually just struck with an idea, and then scramble to write it down. Usually they come about when I am just playing guitar, and out of that something that I like evolves into a song.”

Slonecki’s musical goals are organic and simple. “I just want to be able to make music that I love, and that other people can relate to and love. I guess making a decent living wouldn’t be bad, either,” she said. “However, looking ahead to a career as a musician, I am worried whether I will find success, since it’s a business that is not known for being easy to break into. However, I know I’m passionate about it, and I’m going to give it everything I have.”

Slonecki’s album is available on Amazon.

— by Maggie Sutherland ’10