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Lack of practice rooms ‘out of control’ for Frost music students

Pianos, drum and horns will come to life again with the addition of a new facility in the Frost School of Music.

Plans to construct a 74,000-square-foot building will give faculty have a new workspace and, in turn, the Foster building is expected to be reestablished as a practice space for students.

Nicholas DeCarbo, an associate dean at the Frost School of Music, said the school’s 750 students currently share approximately 20 practice rooms.

With such a reality, students said they have been significantly inconvenienced by the shortage of space.

Josh Patrick-Riley, a senior studying music and theater arts, said he has always had trouble finding practice rooms. He used rooms at Stanford as a freshman, but has become frustrated there too.

“I’ve had to meet accompanists in Stanford when all the rooms are taken in Foster and it’s really an inconvenience,” Patrick-Riley said.

Ryozi Yamaguchi, a second-year graduate student, had taken to practicing his guitar outside when he spoke to The Miami Hurricane. He emphasized the need for more practice rooms and said he has faced consequences like being unable to rehearse or being kicked out of a practice room in the past.

“There are rooms that only piano majors can use and there are just a couple of rooms for other instrumentalists,” he said.

DeCarbo acknowledged the lack of practice space.

“It’s been a problem for 30 years,” he said, noting that the Foster Building was constructed in 1960 with one floor and intended purely as practice space. “That was its sole purpose and it was utilized as such.”

After the School of Music launched the jazz program and the music business program, the school became short on space.

“When the undergraduate population rose, they had to hire faculty to teach them and there was no place to put the faculty,” DeCarbo said. “So in 1970 they put another floor on the Foster Building and they thought, ‘Well, we’ll use most of it for practice and put some faculty in there,’ and that worked for about four or five, maybe six, seven years and then it kind of got out of control.”

He also noted that if all of the Foster Building’s 80 rooms were devoted to practicing, then the facility would meet the standards of the National Association of Schools of Music.

The school has already begun planning the construction and has selected an architect. DeCarbo estimates the new faculty facility cost approximately $34 million.

“The dean has been working diligently to raise the money to do that,” he said.

Although plans for a new facility have been discussed, current music students will not benefit from the space due to delayed construction.

Some students have tried to get more immediate results.

“I know last year they tried to start a petition to use the old music library to make it into practice rooms and I know nothing came of it, so people have tried to do things about it,” Mary Elizabeth Goodson, a junior studying musical theater, said.

For current students, though, DeCarbo said he understands their concerns but could only recommend utilizing practice rooms during non-peak hours. He said rooms are more likely to be available between 8 and 10 a.m., after 9 p.m. and during the weekends.

“It’s a terrible issue; what do I tell them?” he said. “There’s no space.”

Nate Harris can be reached at n.harris2@umiami.edu.

March 27, 2007

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.