Is there enough space in Zankel?

Posted by Jesse Shayne

As the Arthur Zankel Music Center enters its first full year in use, questions have arose concerning the rehearsal space system.

The state of the art facility offers a lot more than the old Filene Music Building but, at a college with a highly musical student population, there still may not be enough space to accommodate student needs.

With the number of ensembles, acapella groups and other musical organizations pushing well into double digits, reserving group rehearsal space is a tricky task.

Google Calendar has become the system used to schedule practice time. "The calendar is almost completely covered. The whole day is this dense network, sometimes overlapping," music department Chairman Thomas Denny said.

One problem with the scheduling is that the rooms in Zankel are also rented out to groups outside of the music department and sometimes groups outside of the college altogether.

Yet, performing music groups still get high priority in the scheduling process. "We have sometimes encountered that scheduling in these spaces conflicts with our offerings. Some of us worry that the College's eagerness to earn income by renting spaces might conflict with our educational mission," said Professor Gordon Thompson.

Meanwhile, students who are not enrolled in music courses are prohibited from using the practice rooms, due to the limited amount of space. The rooms require students to swipe their Skidmore ID card for access. Only the cards of students who are taking music lessons will open the doors. However, it's possible to get in without using them.

"Officially the rooms are reserved for students taking lessons. However, students do find their way to play instruments in practice rooms. Nobody is up there collecting ID cards. Students are resourceful. They have friends they can play with," Denny said.?

As far as the number of rooms goes, music students haven't had much trouble finding space to practice. "Everyone has their own class schedule and their own time to practice so it works out nicely. My experiences have been really peaceful," music student Lyndsay Stone '14 said.

Despite scheduling conflicts, the new building addresses many needs that Filene did not. The new concert hall offers acoustics that none of the other theaters on campus possess. There are more practice rooms, more classroom space and the rooms offer sound isolation. "We really just outgrew the old building," said Denny.???????????????

The final issue with Zankel is that it still doesn't address the need for a permanent place for unchartered student bands to rehearse. As with Filene, bands aren't allowed to practice at Zankel. "There's a long history of bands trying to play in the music buildings. There's a number of reasons why they can't: space, concerns with equipment, damage to facility, etc. The building is primarily an academic teaching facility and has to function as such," Denny said.

As of right now it's possible for bands to rehearse at the Chapel or Falstaff's, although clubs are given priority. Robin Adams, assistant director of Leadership Activities, along with the Student Government Association and various committees on campus, are still discussing the option of a permanent place for student bands to practice. A temporary solution is being worked out.???????

A soundproof trailer is most likely going to be put next to Falstaff's within the next month. Bands will get priority with renting the space. Denny was optimistic about the trailer. "It's a huge need for students to have some sort of facility for bands. It's a big student life issue," Denny said.????

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