Well, it’s been over a month since school started, and despite the great flood of June 13th, the University of Iowa School of Music lives on. We have been relocated to about seventeen different venues accross Iowa City. I have been teaching at Zion Lutheran church, and the music department has leased two new buildings in Iowa City – coincidentally, new buildings created after the disastrous tornado a few years back. Out of one disaster, comes the solution to another.
This week, about twenty sound-proof Wenger practice rooms were installed in one of the new buildings. So, I went up there to try them out. Not only do these 12×12 rooms provide a sound-proof place to practice, but also employ Virtual Acoustic Environment (VAE) technology. There are numerous settings to create artificial reverberation, which helps to enhance the practice experience. Additionally, and this is the best part, you can RECORD high-quality digital sound in this room. Just play and the room records! No separate external microphones, and speakers are built into the walls. There are also jacks to transfer the files via USB cable to a laptop or music player.
This new development will great improve the practice situation for students and new month, when we move into the former University of Iowa Museum of Art, we will be teaching in these types of rooms. If anything good came out of the flood, these rooms, and eventually an upgraded Voxman School of Music are the silver lining behind the cloud of the flood.