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Student Center Piano Rooms Open 24-Hrs.

By Matt Burns

Students will now have 24-hour access to the piano rooms on the fourth floor of the Student Center, provided that they sign up by the four deadlines set throughout the year.

Sign-up forms are due four times this year, on Nov. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 13, and June 18, according to an e-mail announcement from Jennifer B. Smith, manager of event planning for the Campus Activities Complex.

The three piano rooms contain one upright piano and two baby grand pianos. The pianos are tuned regularly, said Smith.

The change is a result of the closing of the Coffeehouse, which had provided keys to the piano rooms 24 hours a day. Following its closing in January, there was a demand for a return to the twenty-four hour access, said Phillip J. Walsh, director of the CAC. Walsh said that since the Coffeehouse had closed, the keys to the piano rooms were given out by the CAC, which is only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on weekdays.

The Campus Activities Complex is also planning future enhancements to the piano rooms. “Our next step is to improve the instruments in there,” Walsh said. He said that the CAC hopes to buy new pianos next year, provided that budget allows for it.

Sign-up gives students access

The new piano room system is “a way to provide the access and make it generally available,” Walsh said. He added that anyone with an MIT ID card can sign up to use the rooms.

However, the CAC does not have the resources to update the access list continually, Walsh said. He said one difficulty was that the card readers on the doors cannot be updated online and would have to be updated manually for each new person. The solution was to set up four times during the year when students could sign up.

Walsh said that once the sign-up form is processed, the person’s MIT ID card will allow access to the rooms until next fall. In addition, each user will be added to a piano user group mailing list, so that they will be informed of procedural updates.

Students support 24-hour access

Many students were pleased with the return of twenty-four hour access to the piano rooms.

“I like the idea, since the Building 4 practice rooms have restricted access. And the sign up sheet is good. It’s a quick way of keeping people responsible for damage ” said Tina Y. Hsieh ’05.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Shiva R. Ramesh ’05. “There are so many people at MIT involved in music.”

Walsh said that the rooms probably would not be appropriate for a cappella group practices, because they can only fit about three people. Walsh suggested that musical groups reserve appropriate space in the Student Center or Kresge Auditorium by contacting the CAC.

Members of MIT a cappella groups agreed. “Trying to rehearse with sixteen people in a space that size is pretty much useless,” said Prathima Nandivada ’06, a member of the Chorallaries.