Featured UCWbLer: Jake D.

Meet Jake D.

Jake D. is one of the University Center for Writing-based Learning’s Head Writing Tutors. He has many responsibilities at the UCWbL and explains how his roles here have helped his role as a member of the band, WALKER. Below you will find some of Jake’s reflections on being a member and how both his roles have informed and enriched one another.


Nat G:How long have you been a member of WALKER? 

Jake D: Less than a year, about 8 months


Nat G: What is your role in the band? 

Jake D: I play guitar and do some background vocals in a duo with my friend Liz Walker, who sings and plays piano. We both write music and lyrics, but I tend to gravitate to the music side of things a bit more. She writes on piano just as much too, though. I’ll write parts on guitar or piano, but I also try to make up every element of a song, including percussion, bass, keys, etc. because I usually have a really clear picture of what I want. Sometimes so much so that it gets in the way. I don’t necessarily write sheet music for all of my ideas now, but I am starting to try transcribing my ideas to better understand the way that I write.


Nat G: Why do you do it?

Jake D: I love it. More than anything. Music, no matter what other interests I’ve picked up or gotten into, has always been my number one passion. In fourth grade, I asked my parents for drum lessons and didn’t stop them until I had to because I was leaving for college. And even during my time playing drums, I started to teach myself guitar and write songs. It all seems to have just happened organically and I’ve never gotten tired of it. I never will.


Nat G: What’s your favorite aspect of being in a band?

Jake D: All of it, honestly. Writing, performing, being able to express my thoughts and feelings in a creative way. Being able to collaborate with other musicians is something I’ve always enjoyed. I think it’s just an inherent part of music. And on top of all of that, writing and performing with other talented musicians helps me improve my own abilities. In a way, it’s really similar to the benefits we receive from tutoring at the UCWbL.


Nat G: What type of music do y’all play?

Jake D: We’ve been having a hard time describing our sound because I don’t think we’ve really had enough time to write together yet to really know for sure. But up until this point, we’ve been saying something like, “bluesy, indie-pop”, whatever that means.


Nat G: Do you guys perform? 

Jake D: We do! We recently played a set at the Elbo Room in Lakeview that went really well for us. We’re currently working on booking a lot of shows for the summer but nothing’s set in stone yet so I’ll have to keep you posted!


Nat G: How has this activity informed your work at the UCWbL or vice versa?

Jake D: I think I touched on this a little bit already but yeah, it’s all transferable. I’ve never really thought about how tutoring has impacted my abilities as a musician and a songwriter, but I’d definitely say that just the amount of different perspectives I encounter on a daily basis influences my thoughts and opinions on various aspects of life.

Being a head has improved my communication and organization skills like you wouldn’t believe, so I definitely am seeing benefits from that as I work with other musicians. A lot of what my job entails at the UCWbL is working with others to achieve a common goal (i.e creating the schedule), which is directly related to what I do in the band. We have to work together to create the right melody, lyrics, and overall feel, so it’s a process that I’ve gotten a little better at over time as a result of the growth I’ve experienced at the UCWbL.