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Best Practices: Carleton’s music practice resources

Tate details all the resources Carleton offers to practice music.

Tate details all the resources Carleton offers to practice music.

As a music major, practicing my instruments is a pretty hefty chunk of my work. But obviously, I can’t lug a piano into my dorm room; I have to make use of our practice rooms. I know, every school lauds their music practice rooms, but I truly believe that we’ve got some great resources for you to use. And in this blog post, I’m going to take you through the resources you have to practice music.

Piano with sheet music displayed.
Here’s one of my favorite pianos in the Weitz, featuring some music I’m currently working on!

Private Practice

To start out, we’ve got 16 music practice rooms in the basement of the Weitz Center for Creativity, most with a piano inside. And these are nice pianos. Playing on dinky upright pianos cannot compare to a lot of the pianos in these practice rooms. Most of them are baby grands, coming from Steinway, Kawai, and other really great manufacturers. And you don’t even need to reserve the rooms! You’ll almost always be able to find an open one. If you take lessons or music classes at Carleton, you’ll have access to all of the Weitz practice rooms. But even if you don’t engage with music formally, there are a bunch of rooms you can use. Aside from a decent number of rooms in the Weitz, we also have pianos in dorms (Goodhue, Watson, and Myers), as well as a bunch of the on-campus houses.

If you don’t play the piano, I won’t hold it against you, of course. You can use any of these practice rooms to play whatever instrument you choose. Can’t haul your harp to Carleton? Don’t worry. We’ve got lots of instruments here that you can either rent or use for free. You can even take advantage of our instrument lockers, which are conveniently located right next to the practice rooms. If you just write to the Ensemble Library, they’ll get you set up with a locker for whatever instrument or equipment you need to store! It’s a life-saver if you don’t want to be carrying your cello from your dorm and back.

Instrument lockers in basement of weitz
The instrument lockers, located in the basement of the Weitz, have spaces, big and small, to store all sorts of instruments and equipment.

Getting the band back together

But what if you don’t want to practice by yourself? What if you want to get a group together to compete in Battle of the Bands at The Cave? Is there enough room? Well, we’ve got larger rehearsal spaces for that! We’ve got the Carpenter Practice Room, which has a piano, amps, a drum kit, and some microphones as well. This is great for your smaller, three or four piece rock bands. If you want a bigger space, you can reserve some of the larger rehearsal spaces like Puzak Studio and Shackel Rehearsal Hall. So if you’ve got a horn section going, you can have the space to spread out and hold rehearsals.

Student violinists and cellist rehearse in Puzak Chamber Studio in the Weitz Center for Creativity.
Puzak Studio is a great space to rehearse some small ensemble music. I’ve loved using it with my a cappella group, Exit 69.

Next steps

Let’s say you win Battle of the Bands, and you want to record your banging

Andy Flory briefing students on Rock Lab
Music professor Andy Flory, giving a description of his Rock Lab class.

music. Another great resource we’ve got on campus is our audio recording studio. With a bit of training, you can request to use the space and use all sorts of audio resources, including microphones, Focusrite interfaces, and Adobe Audition. A few music majors used the Weitz recording studio for their comps processes this past year! One involved recording an entire EP in the studio, and another involved recording individual instruments for a computer-generated jazz machine.

Even if you don’t use the studio for your own purposes, you might end up in there for a class! MUSC 341: Rock Lab uses the studio to teach some of the fundamentals of rock music. When I took LING 375, we were doing a phonological study, and we were encouraged to use the recording studio to get high-quality audio for our analyses.

Of course, you don’t need to use any of these things to engage with music at Carleton. But they’re excellent resources! And honestly, when’s the last time you practiced? You should get back to it…

Tate (he/him) is a senior hailing from Colfax, WI (just two hours east of Carleton). He is double majoring in Linguistics and Music and minoring in Cognitive Science. Outside of academics, he sings in Carleton Choir, Chamber Choir, and Exit 69 A Cappella, serves on the Experimental Theater Board, and DJs for KRLX. He also founded Off The Cuff, Carleton’s storytelling organization. When he’s not occupied by these activities, he enjoys hiking in the Arb, attending screenings in the Weitz cinema, and telling anyone who will listen about ridiculous linguistic example sentencesMeet the other bloggers!