Brandon Turner had any easy time Tuesday finding practice space for himself and his double bass. He won’t be so lucky when classes resume this week.
Music majors like Turner are trying to cope with a shortage of practice space in Corthell Hall on the Gorham campus.
“I think we’ve just absolutely outgrown the building,” said Turner.
Interim Dean of the School of Music Scott Harris agrees.
“There certainly is a space crunch,” said Harris. He is quick to point out the upside of this problem.
“Of a list of problems we could have, this is one of the better problems we could face,” he said. “We have built such a strong faculty and a strong student body, people want to study music here.”
The school has indeed grown rapidly over the years, from about 135 majors in 1996, to around 185 this year, according to Administrative Assistant Chris Alden-Kinne.
She said she divided the number of practice rooms by the number of students in need, factored in the hours of availability, and came up with each major’s allotment.
“It amounted to about a half hour per student per day,” said Alden-Kinne.
But since the rooms are on a first-come, first-serve basis, some ambitious students who get up at the crack of dawn and don’t take bathroom breaks can get more practice time.
There are about two dozen practice rooms in Corthell Hall, the only building on either campus with such space. Those rooms are located on the third floor and in the basement of Corthell.
Several of the rooms on the third floor are not soundproofed, making them unusable when recitals are being held in the concert hall below.
Two of those rooms are also regularly used for classes. And most of the rooms in the basement are portable “cubies” that measure 10′ by 10′ and often house one of the more than15 pianos located in Corthell. Ensembles and students like Turner who play larger instruments simply cannot use some of these smaller rooms.
“There are only four or five rooms I can get into,” said Turner. “And I practice about five or six hours a day.”
Students have few other choices when it comes to practice space.
“We don’t encourage them to practice in the dorms,” said Alden-Kinne.
Plans are being discussed for future construction of a new building for the Music School, one that would hold more practice space.
“We are in the exploratory phase,” said Harris. “This is really a top priority for the school.”
Until new space is either constructed or found, music majors will have to deal with ever-growing competition for a room of their own.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Scott Marcoux can be contacted at: [email protected]