Hawks in the Spotlight: Nathan Watlington


Courtesy of Musicians' Guild

Musician Nathan Watlington playing electric guitar.

Kayla Ivan, Arts & Culture Manager

What is your major, school year, where are you from, and are there any places we can hear you play?
I am a Marine Biology major from Acton, Massachusetts, and you can hear me play at the weekly Musicians’ Guild meetings or any open mic events hosted by the club. It has been a lot of fun being the vice president of the club; we are a very chaotic e-board, but it has been fun getting to know each other and organizing the club.

What instrument(s) do you play? Do you have a favorite?
I play electric, acoustic guitar and keyboard. Guitar is definitely my favorite; there is just something badass about it. I’ve always thought of it as the coolest instrument, even when I didn’t play. Coming back to this question, I think my love of guitar may have originated from playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band as a kid.

What instrument(s) do you play in the Musicians’ Guild? Why?
I mostly play guitar in the Musicians’ Guild. I have been playing it longer than the keyboard and I am much more comfortable on it, which really helps while trying to work your way through a jam.

What has your experience been like in the club in the past, especially while clubs were online?
My freshman year, I joined the Musicians’ Guild but did not participate too much as I didn’t feel good enough on my instrument. Once COVID hit, I didn’t bother attending the online meetings, but I still practiced on my own. Last year, we were very good about having in-person meetings albeit with a much smaller roster, and I began participating more and more. This year, as the vice president, I am always playing along with the jam and attempting to encourage bystanders to join in.

Why do you play music? What about it interests you?
I play music for fun. One of my favorite pastimes is fooling around on one of my guitars, even when I am not actively practicing or trying to learn a song. There is just something so rewarding about progressing on an instrument; when I first started playing, I couldn’t even sound a note and while I am still nowhere near great on guitar, I have come so far since I began.

When did you start playing instruments? What interested you?
I started playing guitar my junior year of high school. I had been listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and I decided I wanted to learn how to play electric guitar. At the time, I didn’t have an electric, and couldn’t justify buying one if I didn’t know how to play, so I started learning on an old acoustic that my parents had bought for my brother. I soon bought my electric and have been playing almost daily since.

Are you in any bands/other clubs on campus for music?
There are a couple of acapella groups on campus for the vocally gifted, and I believe there used to be an album appreciation club, but checking on HawkLink, it looks like that is now defunct. So, Musicians’ Guild seems to be the only open club for musicians of all skill levels.

Why should other students join Musicians’ Guild/learn how to play an instrument?
If you are at all interested in music, learning how to play an instrument is the next logical step. I think a lot of people find instruments daunting, but it doesn’t take long to learn the basics of an instrument just from poking around online, and you only need to know a little bit to start playing with others, which is a lot of fun. If you are experienced on an instrument, or if you are just beginning to play, or if you don’t play at all, The Musicians’ Guild is a great place to listen and talk about music.