Monday, January 30, 2006

Berklee Rehearsal Rooms

I am a woman of a certain age. I have musician friends.I have dated musicians. My former roommate of many years, was a musician and worked at Berklee. I have attended events at Berklee. I have even performed on campus once or twice in my career. However, I had never been to any of their rehearsal rooms.
My young friend is attending Berklee. I have known him for 7 or 8 years. He has spent the last 5 or 6 Christmas Eves with my friends and I. We were all pretty excited for him to be attending Berklee. It has been a tough road for him, but I think he is getting his money's worth.
He is starting to play out and he wanted me to hear him play. He doesn't tell me when he's performing. I hear about it after the fact. Anyway, we headed over to a building that belongs to Berklee that is all rehearsal rooms. It's really a beautiful facility. The front desk is manned by foreign work-study students and the wall behind them has a bunch of symbols hanging on it (like drum kit symbols, not chinese tatoo models) that are cracked and have the room number they came from written on them. These cracked symbols serve 2 purposes. #1) It reminds them which rooms need to have the equipment replaced and #2) It is quite decorative.There are corrodors that look like they are lined with meat lockers. They are thick doors with thick windows that you can look through but can't really hear what is going on in the room.
As you walk down and look into the occupied rooms. It's like watching musicians in aquariums. All different kinds of "fish" -"Guitar" fish, "Drum" fish and a lot of "Piano" fish. The Piano rooms are really small and just have the pianos in them. I felt a lot of energy spilling into the hall. It 's exciting to be around artists working on their craft. Artists excited about being able to perform in such optimal settings. They don't need an audience, they just need the groove.
We found our room. The door was silver metal.It was white /egg shell colored. The walls were covered with those sound proof ceiling tiles, but the tiles looked more metal than that porous material I think of as a traditional ceiling tile.The floor was black and cushiony , it was remeniscent of ground up car tires.The ceiling had three really bright flourescent lighting fixtures. Not the most falttering light. The room itself was about 10 feet by 8 feet. Maybe about the size of a bath room. There was a baby grand piano, a full drum kit, 2 amps , 2 office chairs, a stool (for the drums) and the bench for the piano. With the door closed it was completely sound proofed.
My friend had brought both guitars. An acoustic and an electric. I carried the lighter of the 2. My friend started to noodle around on the piano. Good technique. The sound filled the room. The notes were clear because of the way the room is designed.Then he unpacked the acoustic. Again, started with the noodling and then segued into actually playing the guitar. He was great ! I was so impressed. It was mellow and smooth and I enjoyed it. He played his electric guitar and played around with the distortion which was interesting , but I enjoyed the acoustic more.
I was glad I was able to share this apportunity with him. He was great and I feel he is getting his money's worth. I look forward to seeing him play in front of an audience that has more people in it than me.


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