May 7, 2018 Graduate Stories: Cody Grooms

Graduating Students Series

We’re sharing stories of some of our amazing 2018 graduates:  Paul Bamson, Dillon Dunn, Cody Grooms and Lauren Higdon.  These students persevered, elevated their game, exhibited incredible determination and in some cases, overcame significant odds to reach graduation day.  They share their stories and memories along with some advice for younger students.  We thank these students and send congratulations to all of our graduates.

Cody Grooms with drum in stands at Neyland Stadium

Q&A with Cody Grooms:  Finding Architecture’s Unique Beat


Name:  Cody Grooms

Year: 5th-year

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Newport, Tennessee

Instrument: Percussion, Drum Line


Describe your daily and/or weekly schedule when participating in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and being an Architecture student.

In my first-year, participating in both was much easier. I went to studio in the morning and Pride rehearsal in the afternoon. My second-year, I didn’t think I would be able to do both. I didn’t ask anyone; I just assumed it wouldn’t work in the architecture world. Going into my third-year, I talked with Scott Wall and Jason Young, and they encouraged me to go back to the Pride. They insisted that we’d make it work.

Because of their encouragement, I went back to the Pride for my 3rd, 4th and 5th year. Scott Wall was my first studio leader after going back, and he gave me the confidence that everything would work out. During football season, I went to studio from 1:30 p.m. to about 3:45 p.m. I’d practice with the Pride from 4:00-5:00 p.m. and go back to studio from 5:00-5:30 p.m.

When there was an upcoming home game, we had to learn a new show. Sometimes, we’d have 3 or 4 home games in a row, which required a new drill and a new show for every week. Sometimes, we’d be learning two shows a week, and I was only getting half the rehearsal time as everyone else.


What was the most challenging part of doing both?

Shifting my focus back and forth between the two disciplines was the most challenging part. I had to use the 10 minutes of walking from studio to the music building to re-gear my mind from architecture to drill charts and music.

Since Saturdays were often taken away from my studio time, my life was much more compact. It did help that football season was winding down when final reviews season was picking up. Because of this, I could focus more time on my studio projects. I built valuable time management skills by being involved in both.


Can you tell us your favorite memory from the past five years?

Bowl trips were always so much fun. When we were at the Outback Bowl in 2015, we stayed in Clearwater Beach. The entire experience was great, and when sharing it with 349 of your closest friends, it made all the blood, sweat and tears of the year worth it.


How would you describe your overall experience in both the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and being a College of Architecture and Design student?

One word: immeasurable. The experiences from both helped me grow as an individual and influenced my future. My studies in architecture influenced how I worked and processed thoughts in Pride, but also, being a musician before being an architecture student influenced my work ethic in architecture. [Each discipline] influenced each other, and it helped me a lot.

On nights when I was working late in the Architecture building, I could go over to the percussion room in the music building and take a break by putting my headphones in and playing along. It helped me destress and clear my brain to come back to the studio with new ideas.


Do you plan on pursuing music in the future?

I’ll always be involved in the Pride. The seniors were recently inducted into the alumni association, and I’d be happy to come back for game days to help out with the band.


Any advice to future students?

You can do it.