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CCU’s new music practice rooms are exciting upgrade for department

By Nicole Pippo

Music majors at Coastal Carolina University need to practice their instruments often, and now there is a new and exciting place to do that. In April 2018, the Department of Music officially opened 11 soundproofed music practice rooms in Sands Hall where music majors have 24/7 access to rehearse.

“I was really excited because the only practice spaces we had were some in the Band Hall and some in Wheelwright, so it’s nice to have 11 right here all in the same space,” said Brenna Kallod, a music major from West Fargo, N. D. “It’s also fun to see other people practicing,” said Kallod, who plays the flute and regularly practices in Sands Hall.

“I’ve been asking for practice rooms since I got here in 1988,” said Philip Powell, music department chair and associate professor of music at CCU.

Music students previously used three practice rooms located in Wheelwright Auditorium and three in the Coastal Band Hall, which is located on East Campus. However, they were too small and “were inappropriate for making noise,” said Powell. When students practiced, the music could be heard by others in surrounding offices or classrooms.

According to Powell, when the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) visited CCU, the organization said that the rehearsal spaces were not up to standards. The Office of the Provost recognized that a change was necessary, and the process of building a new practice facility began in 2017 after the space in Sands Hall was identified.

While the practice rooms were a long time coming, Powell says it was worth the wait. “Space is a premium on this campus,” said Powell. “There are so many legitimate needs, and I’m so pleased that our legitimate need bubbled up to the surface to the point where it was actionable.” Powell updated the students on the progress of the project often because he saw how excited they were about getting the practice rooms.

The 11 practice rooms, located on the opposite end of Sands Hall in relation to the post office, are secured with an entry code as well as security cameras.

The rooms also have several state-of-the-art acoustical features. Each room is soundproofed, and two of them have a function that adjusts the amount of reverb in the room. “You can make it sound like you’re in a big cathedral, or you can make it sound really dead,” said Powell. Students can also record themselves and play back their practice session or listen to music that other students have recorded and play along to it.

“These are not the practice rooms I had when I was in school, that’s for sure,” said Powell. He says the music majors appreciate the high-quality functions and utilize the practice rooms often.

Powell hopes the new practice rooms will expand CCU’s music department. “I think this is actually going to change who we are as a department.” He expects to see an improvement in the quality of the students’ performances, as well as an increase in the number of students attending CCU for a music degree now that there are improved facilities to practice in.

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