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Dental Student Learns Life Lessons Through Music

Written by Adam Zewe

Mark Nesbitt, DDS '13, transforms from clinician to musician without missing a beat. He plays drums in The Finger Loaders, a rock band composed of fourth-year University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) students.

Nesbitt is a founding member of the band, which began hosting informal jam sessions two years ago. A seasoned guitar player, Nesbitt taught himself to play drums because the band mates couldn't find a drummer. Learning a brand new instrument wasn't as tough as he anticipated. "I've been an air-drummer my entire life," Nesbitt jokes.

The band includes Dan Grosberg, DDS '13 on keyboards and vocals, Dave Axelrod, DDS '13 on guitar and Pete Innacola, DDS '13 on bass. They play an eclectic mix of rock and roll cover songs, by artists ranging from The Doors to Sublime to MGMT. Recently, The Finger Loaders began experimenting with original material, and Nesbitt enjoys letting his creativity blossom as a songwriter.

For Nesbitt, playing on stage is a huge thrill, which makes the hours of preparation worth the effort. Finding time to rehearse for gigs is the biggest challenge of being a drumming dental student, Nesbitt says. Whether the band members are preparing dental restorations or practicing electric guitar solos, their meticulous natures shine through. Rehearsals sometimes stretch for hours until they unanimously agree that each song is ready for the stage, states Nesbitt.

By working so closely with four people, Nesbitt learns valuable lessons he can apply at UMSOD and in his dental career. "Being in the band has taught me how to collaborate with people and work in a situation that is truly democratic. To have success as a band, you all have to be capable of communicating with each other," Nesbitt remarks.

Though the band will likely dissolve after the musicians graduate this spring, Nesbitt won't forget the fun and friendship of The Finger Loaders. After graduation, he plans to complete a general practice residency and establish a private practice, though he is unsure where he will eventually locate his practice. One thing is certain: wherever Nesbitt goes, he'll be marching to the beat of his own drum set.

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