09 September 2003


I do realize that the music department is not trying to make my life difficult, but they're succeeding anyway.
I am the only harp performance major in the living memory of the music staff here. To their knowledge, there has never, in the 100+ year history of Gonzaga, ever been a harp student other than me. Needless to say, they were not quite prepared for me. Because my instrument is large and and takes a lot of time to move, I have to keep it in the classroom where the orchestra, which I play with, rehearses. Now, practice rooms are open to students 24-7. They do not operate on a schedule. But classrooms do. The building is only open from 8am until 9pm six days a week, and closes at 6pm on Fridays. I have a key which opens the door of the classroom, but not the exterior door of the building. So I am limited to these hours, which normally I would not object to. I'm not one for practicing at 2am. I prefer to be alseep then.
Today I went to look at The Book (*diminished chord plays*) which contains the schedule for the classroom which I practice in. It's by far the most popular of the three classrooms. Well, it's booked virtually every hour of the weekdays. 2-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays is free, which is a good time for me. But on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the only time it is free is 8-10am. This is bad. I'm supposed to practice two hours a day, but I have a class at 9am those days, and it's a ten-minute walk. So, subtract that from the one free hour and it leaves me with 50 minutes practice those three days. Less than half of what my teacher expects, and less than half of what I really need.
So, I blocked out that time in the book so that everyone knows I practice then. But I could only pencil it in, because any faculty member can take over that time if they want to. All I can say is, they had better not. I'm playing with three of the five major performing ensembles this winter, and getting neither credit nor payment for two of them. This in addition to my mandatory solo work as a music major. At least I have a little leverage with that: if I can't practice as much as I really need to, I can tell the two most important men in the department to buzz off and take their harp parts elsewhere. They won't like that, because professional harpists cost upwards of $125 an hour.

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