Student musicians: A growing need for space

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There are currently 31 practice rooms available to more than 300 music students. Photo credit: Kimberly Smith


With more than 300 graduate and undergraduate student musicians, the School of Music has exponential growth in enrollment. That brings a problem: shrinking practice space.

The 250 undergraduates, 60 graduates and 24 artist certificate candidates share 31 available practice rooms, which are located in the School of Music building and Trinity Hall.

Although the increasing number of music students has brought much change, such as a new dean and an official College of Music and Arts, the tight number of practice rooms serves as an irritation to many student musicians.

“There’s not enough room to practice whenever I try to do so,” said junior violin performance major Lily Mackay. “It’s so rare to find an empty practice room or not have to wait for one.”

According to School of Music receptionist Colleen Kuhns, 19 practice rooms are located on the second floor of the music building with hours of availability from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. everyday. Room 127 holds six practice spaces that are available when classes are not in session. There are also two percussion practice rooms, one specific to a drum set, the other to several other percussion instruments. The remaining four practice rooms are located inside Trinity Hall.

To receive access to second-story practice rooms, students bring their APU ID card to the Music Office and receive activation for every academic year. Although they all have access to these practice rooms, students obtain rooms on a first-come first-serve basis.

“Its so difficult to practice on campus, let alone the music building,” senior music composition major Nelson Cardenas said. “Sometimes I’ll have to practice in my apartment with my headphones, which is totally different and hinders my learning.”

Dr. Donovan Gray, associate dean of the School of Music, said officials are aware of the shortage of practice space.

“About four or five years ago, the School of Music added [sound-proof] Wenger practice rooms in Room 127 and Trinity Hall,” Gray said. “We want to be innovative here, and that’s one of the things APU is known for. Our dean loves to deal with these challenges, and it’s being actively looked at.”

Currently there are only 31 practice rooms for more than 300 musicians, but junior commercial music major Joe Di Fiore said there will be even less space in the future as the music program grows.

“So not only do music students need to be more efficient with their practice time in the practice rooms, but at some point, there is going to have to be more rooms built because it won’t be long before finding a practice room at APU is almost impossible,” he said.

The School of Music faculty and staff are seeking new ways to accommodate the upcoming generation of musicians, according to Gray.

“Hopefully we can come up with some solutions as we progress with Dr. Johnson’s tenure here and in the future of the school,” Gray said.

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