When he graduates from Lafayette in a few years, John Paul Bisciotti ’14 (Media, Pa.) plans to be a mechanical engineer—but he will surely be a more musically talented mechanical engineer than most.
Bisciotti takes classes in engineering, mathematics, and physics as he works toward his degree. He excels in math and science, and enjoys communicating and problem solving, so it’s a good field on which to focus his academic attention.
But outside academics, Bisciotti’s great love is music. He plays with the Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble, in a jam band called the New Mechanics, and often accompanies fellow musician Carlos Barata ’14.
“In short, my goal is to play as much music as possible,” he says.
As one of Lafayette’s Creative and Performing Arts fellows, Bisciotti receives a stipend to support his creative pursuits, including performances on campus and in the community.
For all his talent and love of music, Bisciotti has no plans to make a career of it.
“Early in high school, I had to decide whether I wanted to pursue music or something else as a career,” he says. “I decided that [music] would function better as a lifelong hobby.”
At Lafayette, he has found a place where he can nurture both of his interests. Before applying, Bisciotti met with Jeff Helm, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Skip Wilkins, associate professor of music.
“Both left good impressions. After these meetings, I felt that at Lafayette I could pursue my future in engineering while still balancing my lifelong passion with music,” Bisciotti says.
He sees overlapping aspects between music and the courses he takes for his major.
“For example, this year in my physics course, thermodynamics & waves, I learned fundamental principles about [sound] waves such as refraction and interference,” he says.
Bisciotti took up the cello in third grade. “I wanted to play the cello exclusively because it was the biggest and seemed fun,” he says. Later, he also learned to play bass guitar and the double bass.
He took lessons in playing classical music, but learned rock and jazz by different routes. His older brother, Frank, influenced his interest in rock music, and he learned jazz by listening to Philadelphia’s WRTI 90.1 and performing with school ensembles.
“It always amazes me how a composer can find a way to communicate without the use of words, and how a musician can convey that mood to an audience with ease,” he says. “Music always catches me off guard but still remains familiar, and I like that.”
Last year, he completed an externship with Turner Construction and this year he will have an externship with Tier One LLC. Bisciotti has also worked with the Office of Admissions as an ambassador tour guide.