Dean’s Advisory Council addresses state of the Conservatory of Music

Laura Streyle

The Dean’s Advisory Council, comprised of Conservatory students and Dean of the Conservatory of Music Brian Pertl ’86, had its first meeting Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The DAC is made up of elected representatives from the Conservatory student body who come together to hear concerns and suggestions voiced by fellow students.
The agenda for the first meeting was comparatively small for the group, since few suggestions had been put on the table for discussion. Spreading awareness about the open ears of the council was the primary topic on the agenda.
One talking point that will engender more attention as the year progresses, however, is the issue of practice room traffic jams that frequently occur in the basement of the Conservatory. While patience and flexibility have always been assumed in terms of procuring a practice room, many upperclassmen have commented on the tighter squeeze in practice room availability as a result of the large incoming freshman class.
According to e-mail responses from Conservatory students about the practice room dilemma, there are some ways to alleviate the pressure from finding rooms. To start, it is important that students always watch their instruments in the practice rooms, making sure not to leave the rooms unattended for an extended period of time.
In addition, there are alternative locations to practice: classrooms are available upstairs in the Conservatory for students to reserve and there are practice rooms in the Plantz Residence Hall basement and the basement of the Conservatory West building.
Associate Professor of Music and Teacher of Viola Matthew Michelic condones this type of resourcefulness and perceives the practice room situation as a workable one. Michelic stated that the practice room issue is “something that people can plan around if they are the creative, flexible and industrious folks I know them to be.”
Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and talent of the incoming freshman class is noteworthy and is one that Pertl said “should be celebrated.”
“Across the board,” said Pertl, “all theory teachers and ensemble instructors say that this is a great class.” Pertl noted that Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands Andrew Mast had to upgrade his repertoire for the ensemble’s program to find something more challenging for the group. “They are strong, eager and ready to go,” said Pertl.
Further improvements within the practice rooms and inside the performance spaces at the Conservatory have been or are currently being undertaken. Over the course of the last two years, the Lawrence Memorial Chapel has undergone a number of renovations. Thanks to a single donor, the ceiling, side paneling, entranceway columns and steps leading up to the front terrace have all been renovated and new aisle carpet and refurnished house seats were added over the summer.
While these new seats are visually more appealing, the switch from metal to wooden frames also makes for better sound absorption. According to Pertl, the new seats and carpeting caused a fourth to a half of a second reverb gain.
Renovations are a continual project, and Conservatory students can look forward to new acoustic paneling for the Chapel and practice rooms this coming December.