My Research Question:
How does the lack of available and affordable rehearsal space affect aspiring musicians?
My name is Matt Hadsell and I am 28 years old. As part of a final project in my writing 122 course at PCC we were asked to develop a research question for a community theme of our interest. I decided to choose the theme of, “Arts/Culture”. I can relate to the topic quite easily. I have actively been involved with anything music related for about 21 years now. When we were first given word of the assignment I got a little stressed out because I couldn’t think of anything good to write about or even where I would volunteer my time for that matter in relation to my theme. After a few days it came to me. I was over-thinking everything and the answer was actually right in front of me the whole time. I realized the one thing that really plagues musicians (myself included) is the lack of available and affordable rehearsal rooms. I ended up volunteering at a local rehearsal studio cleaning out rooms and so forth. So, how does the lack of available and affordable rehearsal space affect aspiring musicians? Well for starters, if you play an instrument you are gonna need somewhere to practice at right? Most people cannot stand the sound of someone trying to practice an instrument, especially if that person just started learning how to play it. If an aspiring musician gets shunned for trying to perfect their skills then it will discourage them from wanting to practice again for fear of being told to shut up or keep it down. That’s where the idea of rehearsal rooms comes into play. Musicians need a place to go and be as loud as they want and to practice for however long they need. However, in a lot of cities, it is pretty hard to find a rehearsal studio that has rooms available and for monthly rates. Studio owners know this and use it to their advantage to only open rooms up by the hour. Many studios charge anywhere from $10-$50 dollars an hour which is more revenue for the studio as opposed to renting rooms out to bands at a monthly rate. What does this mean? It means that musicians who are trying to practice have to fork over an insane amount of money just to practice for a couple hours. Think about if you are in a band and once you all get to the studio to practice you have to pay by the hour. Setting up a full bands gear takes some time. Before you know it you just paid and wasted an hour having to set up. Then in turn you are gonna waste another hour from having to pack up all your gear. For a 3 hour time slot you have already wasted 2 full hours that you paid for to “practice”. What if the drummer doesn’t have a car to take his drum set back and forth every week just to practice for an hour? Well, like most aspiring musicians you may get stopped in your tracks before you even have a chance. The more restrictions that you place on an artist the worse it is going to do for their motivation. We need more available monthly rehearsal spaces and at a fair price in order to keep the creativity alive in people. A world without music would be a very boring place.
The Research Collection:
Source #1 – James Barron. “Seeking Room to Rock Where Cost of Space Just Keeps Rising”. The New York Times. 22 Jan. 2008. Web. 28 May. 2014.
– This article written by the New York Times talks about how the city is getting more expensive for bands to practice. Steadily rising real estate prices are taking a toll on all but the best-financed music groups and institutions. Small bands and ensembles feel the pinch when they book practice time in rehearsal studios, which charge $10 to $50 an hour. Forget about monthly rooms to rent because in New York City limited space in buildings is at a premium.
Source #2 – The Northern Star. Lismore Australia. Jan 31. 2012. Web. May 29. 2014
– This article talks about how one of the signs of a healthy music scene is the availability of good rehearsal spaces. The average rock band generates sound levels of about 120 decibels and in order to accommodate this they need a very specialized structure. The infamous Rehearsal Space building. This building has to allow the bands to rock out, usually at night, all while keeping the neighbors happy.
Source #3 – Coventry Newspapers. Coventry Evening Telegraph. England. Nov 29. 2011. Web. May 29. 2014
– This article based in England makes good on my research question as well. It is talking about a new rehearsal space being built for the bands in the community. “When we started out we had to go and rent a space in Leamington because there was nowhere suitable or affordable here. It would have been amazing to have somewhere like this where we could practice at. When we started out the biggest factor was cost. A lot of people just can’t get started and not everyone’s moms and dads are up for having drums played for hours in their homes.
Source #4 – Trevor Mason. Pilot Rehearsal Spaces Report. London England. Nov 2012. Web. May 29. 2014
– This article is by far my favorite one. It is quite lengthy but definitely a good read and backs up my research question very well. It is also based out of the UK. Access to a rehearsal space is an integral part of the career development of young musicians and music ensembles. Funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport enabled UK Music, working in partnership with Sound Connections, to support a two-year pilot Rehearsal Spaces project. In 2009 the project invested £430,000 to establish 14 pilot music rehearsal spaces in community settings across England for young people aged between 8–25 years. The funds paid for instruments, equipment and necessary capital works, such as soundproofing. An evaluation of the project ending in December 2012 found it raised the quality of provision and that a music space is defined by its purpose and the availability of equipment and instruments. The entire project gave paid work to 65 people, including music specialists, youth workers and project managers. A number of achievements were cited in music, personal and social development. Many spaces supported young people from poorer social-economic neighborhoods in to employment, education and training. Working in groups raised self-esteem, taught them how to deal with anger and take responsibility for their own health. Excitement and hope fostered a passion for music-making. Spaces created safe and attractive rooms and activities, offering an alternative to the school curriculum to help reduce anti-social behavior, leading to public performances that improved the perception of young people amongst the wider community.
The Public Writing:
I chose to create a blog about this topic and a bit more in depth explanations of the research can be seen here @ http://matthadsell.wordpress.com.