Lee Yoo-jin (Korean Music, 2) felt lucky to get a space to prepare for her gayaguem (Korean zither with 12 strings) performance exam by coming to school at 7 a.m.
“If I fail to come early, I have to practice on the corridor floor in front of the instrument cabinet,” Lee said.
The college’s 1,000 music majors struggle with a lack of practice space especially in December, when students are swamped with performance exams.
Starting in the fall of 2009, the college adopted a daily first-come-first-serve reservation system. Under the system, students majoring in music can reserve a room for three hours once per day or two hours if they want space more than once in the same day. During vacations, they can use the rooms for six hours. Previously, there was no systematical regulation for the use of rooms.
“Before we brought in this system, some students from other departments reserved many rooms with forged names,” said Oh Ji-eun, a staff member at the administration office in the College of Music. “We heard of some students who had to come at dawn to reserve a room.”
Park Hae-lye (Composition, 4), who is the current student representative for the College of Music, said the new system tracks the times students begin and finish using rooms. This alleviated problems of rooms that were reserved but left vacant, but there still isn’t enough practice space.
Some students who can’t reserve for a room sneak into empty classrooms and end up getting kicked out by security guards.
“Although the problem with practice rooms is a student government pledge every year, it’s really disappointing to see improvement taking place,” Park Su-yeon (Voice, 2) said. She said she often can’t practice due to lack of space.
Practice rooms for undergraduate and graduate music majors are distributed by specialty – third floor for Korean music majors, fourth floor for orchestral instruments and voice majors and fifth floor for keyboard instrument majors. Each floor has 13 to 14 practice rooms. The rooms are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Another 30 teachers’ rooms, where students get lessons, are available without reservation when they are vacant.
The College of Music personnel said the department recognized the lack of sufficient practice space, but that there isn’t really any alternative as of now.
“We do acknowledge the number of rooms is insufficient,” Oh said. “So we have restricted the use of rooms only to the students of the College of Music since the fall semester of 2009. After this, the practice rooms became less crowded.”
Rumors of improvements circulate among students. “I heard that if they remodel the building they’ll make more practice rooms but I haven’t heard of specific plans,” Kim Yoo-hyun (Korean Music, 2) said.
Besides competition for rooms during exam preparation periods, students have raised other problems.
“Now we are practicing in unheated practice rooms with poor soundproofing,” said a student who wanted to remain anonymous.