Berklee Today

Lead Sheet:
New Fordham Road Practice Facility Creates Opportunities for Students

Architect's rendering of Berklee's new Fordham Road facility

One vitally important component of the Berklee experience is the opportunity for young players immersed in a musical environment to meet and play with other musicians from all over the world after class hours. While these informal jam sessions have historically fostered tremendous musical freedom and exploration, too often space in which to hold these jams has been hard to find.

In an effort to make it easier for students to have these experiences, Berklee formally opened a new, state-of-the-art student practice facility located at 25 Fordham Road in the Packard's Corner section of Allston February 2. The new facility, with over 12,000 square feet of rehearsal space, provides students with 55 new practice rooms; 10 of these have been created for rehearsals.

The newly renovated building includes five large ensemble rooms for group practice; five trio rooms, four of which will be equipped with grand pianos, and one will be a percussion room; and 45 rooms for individual practice. Each of the practice rooms was professionally engineered and built by Acoustic Systems to provide outstanding sound within each space and to minimize sound transfer between rooms.

In addition to the practice rooms, the facility also has a lounge area, vending machines, a pool table, and three computer workstations with wireless Internet connections. Plans call for the building to be open seven days a week from noon to 11 p.m. with facility supervisors and security on hand during all business hours.

The Fordham Road facility will help relieve some of the pressure of the practice crunch during the evening hours and make ensemble rooms, trio rooms, and individual practice rooms available in the afternoons. As part of the practice facility plan, we surveyed the students to determine what their practice needs were and then designed the Fordham Road facility accordingly.

Some of the individual practice rooms are specifically intended for drum and piano practice. The general practice rooms (made to accommodate a variety of instrumentalists) are equipped with digital pianos and guitar amps. The larger ensemble rooms feature what has become standard ensemble room equipment (piano, bass, and guitar amplifiers, and a sound system). Equipment for the practice rooms was provided by the generous support of Fender Musical Instruments, Technics Musical Instruments, Roland Corporation, Avedis Zildjian Company, and Paiste Cymbal Corporation.

The site was designed to be a friendly place for students to practice, jam, and relax. Students can sign out a practice room while they wait for an ensemble room to open up. They can also take a break from practicing and check their e-mail at the Internet cafe, or shoot some pool in the lounge. I hope that all students will take advantage of this new educational opportunity.

Though a few finishing touches were still being completed, the facility opened to students on Monday, December 11, to enable them to utilize the space in preparation for finals.

The Fordham Road location is accessible by the MBTA Green line (B line) and convenient for the many Berklee students who live in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood—which, after the Back Bay/Fenway area, has the second-largest Berklee student population.

Plans are not finalized for the addi-tional 8,000 square feet at the Fordham Road facility that have not yet been renovated. How this area will be used is still to be determined and will depend upon Berklee's future demands for space.

— Matt Marvuglio

Dean of the Performance Division