Staff Editorial

“There aren’t enough practice rooms” is certainly not a new phrase to most Conservatory students at Lawrence. Finding practice space during peak hours has always been a problem, but until this year it has been manageable and fairly low on priority lists.
Suddenly, however, the “peak practice times” are becoming more and more frequent, resulting in an almost constant battle for even the smallest of practice spaces.
It is increasingly rare for a student to find a room right away; musicians are often seen circling the Con basement like hawks, waiting to pounce on whatever space opens up first.
Getting in a quick warm-up before a lesson or ensemble rehearsal is nearly impossible, since at least 15 minutes are taken up simply waiting for a room.
Why is this problem so prevalent this year? For starters, there are more music majors than ever in the Conservatory, at 365. Record numbers of freshmen were accepted, and more and more students are choosing to participate in music as an extracurricular activity.
In addition, several practice spaces have been converted into offices for faculty and staff, bringing the number of available practice rooms down to a mere 38.
Several significant problems could result from the lack of practice space in the Con. For example, students will be more inclined to bring their instruments to dorms and practice in their rooms.
As lovely as music can be, neighbors and roommates would certainly not appreciate hearing violin scales while trying to study or sleep. In addition, expensive instruments are more likely to be damaged or even stolen if they are not always locked up in the same place.
What can be done about this frustrating and growing problem? First, students should voice their concerns to the Dean’s Advisory Council, a student-led panel that meets to address the needs of Lawrentians in the Conservatory. The more complaints they receive and pass on to the Dean, the more quickly the problem will be addressed.
Although an addition to the conservatory would be the ideal solution, there are many other building projects that will come first, namely the campus center. In the meantime, a reevaluation of available space in the Con is necessary and should be performed as soon as possible.
Any unused or rarely used space should be made available to students for practicing, and perhaps minimally invasive remodeling projects can be planned for the coming years.
Residence halls could also designate certain practice areas; as it stands, Plantz is the only dorm with designated space for practicing.
A lack of practice space in the Conservatory has just climbed several notches on Lawrence’s priority list, and the problem needs to be voiced and addressed sooner rather than later. Creative solutions will need to be explored to keep the quality of Lawrence’s music programs high.