Building Community with Composer Jaylin Vinson '25

Jaylin Vinson ’25 (Sid Rich), composition major and African American studies minor, is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of humanity and community through music. “Music is a cultural construct that’s built among interactions and with communal participation. I’m fascinated with what happens when you get people together to create music,” Jaylin explained. “What does that do to our connection, community and consciousness?”

Jaylin Vinson '25

Jaylin’s interest in the intersection of music and community began during his childhood in Oklahoma, where his musical family was active in their local church. “My mom sang in our church choir, and my brother was a drummer. I started playing violin in elementary school, then took up piano and trumpet in 6th grade.” His early days in the church community were influential — he saw the positive effect that music had both on individuals and within a large group. He saw that music was a powerful tool for strengthening connections within communities.

“I chose Rice because of the sense of community and culture of care on campus,” Jaylin shared. The Shepherd School is a great music school at an exceptional university filled with diverse individuals. My inspiration comes from the people around me ― my peers who have lived lives different than my own and the professors that keep me motivated and diligent.”

Jaylin, an Annual Fund scholarship recipient, also is inspired by the community of donors who have made his Rice education possible.

“I would not be on a path toward achieving my dreams at Rice without the help of donors,” Jaylin said. “Their generous hearts make it possible for me to be on this campus. Thank you to all the donors who give to the university, believe in students and create incredible opportunities for us.”

Jaylin Vinson '25

Jaylin’s work at the Shepherd School has been marked by growing knowledge, insightful collaborations and generous professors, who have provided the resources he needs to succeed. “I’m grateful for the level of investment that my professors have poured into me. My life has been impacted by so many different professors at the Shepherd School. They all empower me to create the art I feel passionate about,” Jaylin said.

With support from his professors, Jaylin has relished the opportunity to share his music with the broader community. He debuted his original composition, “Shimmer!”, as part of the Moody Center for the Arts’ New Art/New Music Fall 2021 concert. In 2023, he was awarded the US Navy inaugural Alton Augustus Adams Sr. Award for Emerging Composers and was featured in Houston Public Media.

Thoughtful about his trajectory after Rice, Jaylin is looking forward to a breadth of possibilities. “There are so many different things that I want to accomplish,” Jaylin said. “I aspire to be a concert composer, to teach in a university setting and even to be an executive director of an arts nonprofit that will create places for Black musicians and composers to come together, connect with one another and feel empowered.”

Your support of the Rice Annual Fund helps students like Jaylin think big and take advantage of incredible opportunities that will prepare them for inventive and fulfilling careers. Learn more about how your gift to the Rice Annual Fund can make an impact.

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