The Spotlight: Taylor Raibikis

Hannah Perry

Sophomore Taylor Raibikis’s passion for music blossomed in school. When faced with the decision of choosing choir or band in middle school, she picked choir and loved it from the very first day. She continued singing throughout high school and always took opportunities to audition for All State and Solo/Ensemble festivals. With a love for performing that never faded, she applied to Buena Vista University and is currently a music education (vocal) and vocal performance double major. 

Raibikis is an active member of several musical groups on campus. Recently, she has taken over as the pianist for the jazz band. Considering her majors, it’s no surprise that she has also taken voice lessons and been in choir since her freshman year. In addition to singing at choir concerts, she has also had the opportunity to perform in front of her fellow students through rock ensemble, a student-run rock group on campus.  

Music is not the only way Raibikis expresses herself. With experience in speech and theatre throughout her high school career, she was more than ready to keep participating at BVU. Last year, she performed in Magic Theatre, a student-directed interactive play for children. She hopes to contribute to the behind the scenes work for BVU’s upcoming show The Most Bizarre Production 

“I was really passionate about theatre in high school,” Raibikis said. “I absolutely wanted to be part of the theatre program at BV, whether it was on the technical side or the performing side because I’ve done both, so I really like it. My interview with Bethany when I first toured here really helped.”   

With her mixture of activities, including music and theatre, Raibikis stresses the importance of finding time for everything. 

“One of the hardest things is trying to balance your practice with everything else,” Raibikis said. “Especially right now, I’m in the thick of all my methods courses so I’m learned ten or so different instruments at once. If you’re a multi-instrumentalist or a vocalist and an instrumentalist, it’s really important to spend equal time on both and not favor one over the other. Each one is just as important.”  

Ultimately, Raibkis’s goal is to teach vocal music. She is currently becoming licensed to teach students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. In five to ten years, she sees herself teaching high school choir and possibly coaching speech on the side. Her goal is to inspire her students as much as she had been inspired by her high school and college teachers. 

This summer, Raibikis took the knowledge she had acquired from her classes and taught voice lessons in her hometown of Panora, Iowa. She worked with students in middle school and high school but is willing to teach all ages. She sees this opportunity as one step closer to achieving her dreams.  

“It’s really cool and a great way to get my foot in the door for teaching,” Raibikis said. “There are different kinds of teachers, so I think this is helping me develop into the kind of teacher I want to be. I’ve learned new ways to teach music that I never would have thought of before.”  

When Raibikis isn’t teaching lessons or in a practice room, she’s in the studio recording her podcast Streaming & Screaming with her friend and co-host Blake McMillan. The duo discusses a variety of topics relating to the music industry. The podcast is now on its way to almost ten episodes on Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple Music.  

“We try to either go through a new album every week or circle back to an album that has just been released that’s pretty popular,” Raibikis said. “We’ll talk about the album and the inner workings of it, what was cool, what we liked, and what we didn’t like. We also talk about industry news and what’s going on with the charts. I have a segment about artists that are up and coming and retro artists that I really like.” 

From performing to podcasting, it’s Raibikis’s love for sharing the joys of music that brings her the most happiness and allows her to connect with everyone she meets.  

“I view music as the one great unifier and a universal language because no matter who you meet, they’re going to like music of some kind. I think it’s important to listen to people through their music tastes because you can really learn who they are that way,” Raibikis said.