The conservatory, in a sudden burst of creativity, has come up with a way to put itself much closer to resolving the issue of too few practice rooms. This past week, workers from Physical Plant acted upon a work order from the conservatory. One by one, the workers closed the conservatory bathrooms and modified each stall, turning it into a functional, though economically-sized, practice room.
To create the practice stalls, the workers extended the walls of each stall to the floor and ceiling and attached sound-insulating foam all the way around the inside. The doors of each stall now are equipped with a foldout shallow shelf that acts like a music stand. Each practice stall is now big enough for players of most instruments, except low string and brass instruments, most percussion, and, clearly, piano.
“This is a trial,” said Dean Kathleen Murray. “We’ll see how people take to the idea.” Dean Murray noted that there are several advantages to the new practice stalls, besides the added practice space that they provide.
“You can steal a piano bench, but you can’t steal a toilet. From a purely practical perspective, this will save us a lot of grief in the long run. It’s a shame we hadn’t thought of it sooner.”
Full-length mirrors have yet to be installed in all the practice stalls, but some have voiced opinions saying that is really not necessary.
Some of the logistics have yet to be worked out, said Dean Murray. For instance, Murray suggested that some kind of policy will have to be set up to determine who has priority over the practice stalls.
“If someone needs to, you know, do their business, and there isn’t another free stall, then that person will obviously have priority to use the stall over someone who’s just in there practicing. But of course, if someone is in there practicing and doing their business at the same time, well that’s different.” Murray stated that any problems of priority with using the stalls would undoubtedly be discussed at the upcoming DAC meeting.
“We’re just going to have to rely on people to be reasonable and use their common sense,” Murray said. “If people do that, practice stalls might provide us with at least a temporary answer to the practice room situation.”
A total of ten stalls were modified last week, with the remaining stalls in the conservatory slated for modification if the plan proves successful.
Reaction from conservatory students was mixed, but many were glad that, for once the brass players could empty their spit valves someplace else but the floor.