Some Notes on the Harwood Music Department

Astrid Kahn, Student Writer

You have an instrument in your hand, about to start playing Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, which you have practiced for months. And then you remember – you are in a cramped, non-soundproof room and easily get distracted by the person playing Gangnam Style in the next practice room over.

Although there are certainly things that aren’t perfect, Harwood’s music area is a quality one, especially compared to many other schools. However, the space didn’t always look like it does now. “When I first started here in the music department, we didn’t have all those practice rooms,” Chris Rivers, head of the music department, said in an interview. “We had just two classrooms, one for the chorus and one for the band. And very quickly we outgrew both of those spaces, so for a long time, the band rehearsed on stage.” The Harwood music teachers got to help redesign the area by adding in five practice rooms.

But even now, things aren’t flawless. One student, Jonah Halter, said that “the best and worst thing about the practice rooms is the same aspect, which is the size. Sometimes it’s nice having a small space to go individually, but it can also be a pain whenever you need to practice with a bandmate or bring an amplifier inside. Although there is one larger room without this problem, it is often being used for lessons.” This was also brought up by Mr. Rivers. “Not every room is identical in size, so we have some flexibility, which I think is a good thing.” Another issue is that the practice rooms aren’t actually as soundproof as they might seem. “They have cement walls between them, but the cement walls don’t go all the way to the top, so sound goes through,” Mr. Rivers commented. There are also only five practice rooms, which can become an issue when many people need to practice. “We try to be creative by using all the different spaces. Storage closets, back rooms, and the lighting booth we’ve used before,” stated Mr. Rivers.

This isn’t to say, however, that the Harwood music area is lagging behind other schools. In fact, it is generally far ahead of most schools. “There’s lots of schools that don’t have any practice rooms, and there are many schools who might enjoy one or two, but we have five, so we feel pretty lucky about that,” added Mr. Rivers. All in all, even though there are many things that could be improved, we have an excellent music department.