Identifying the Right Space for Your Music Program

The placement of your Music Program facility is critical to its success and can significantly affect other program areas as well. Below are some practical guidelines to consider to identify the right space for your Music program facility. 

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Overall room considerations:

  • Total Square Footage – Music program facilities vary widely in size, ranging from a minimum of about 600 square feet to more than 1,000 square feet. Many music program spaces feature a large multi-purpose room for general music activities that may include:
    • Housing and displaying guitars, keyboards, drums, and bass guitars for workshops and lessons 
    • Computer or iPad workstations for participants to make beats and write or produce songs 
    • Lounge atmosphere for participants to hang out (e.g. sofas or high-top tables) 
    • A small stage used for performances such as Open Mic Nights
    • Some larger spaces often include pre-existing smaller rooms, which can often be repurposed as break-out rooms (or “Studios”). Depending on the day and activity, any of these “Studios” can be used for recording a song, workshops, practice rooms, and/or rehearsal spaces. 
  • Room Shape – The shape of the existing location will impact the overall design of your music program. Rectangular-shaped rooms work well, while more unusually shaped rooms might require more design creativity.

Desirable locations:

  • Highly visible location – A highly visible Music program is very visually appealing to teen members and will help attract new members. Highly visible rooms also allow for greater communication and supervision between various rooms. Music program staff should be able to stand in the center of the multi-purpose room and easily monitor all rooms.
  • Teen Center proximity – Music programs often work well when grouped near an existing teen center or near other arts programming such as visual arts, video production, or dance programs.
  • Dense walled and/or isolated locations – Whether located in a basement, top floor, or separate wing of a building, Music programs often work best when isolated from other program areas. Dense wall construction is ideal. For example:
    • Cinder block construction
    • Poured concrete foundation
    • Brick construction

Avoid placement near “quiet” locations:

Music programming is often loud and can disturb other program areas like academic classes, nap/rest areas, study or homework centers. Avoid placing music program facilities near:

  • School-age, childcare, or preschool programs
  • Academic study rooms such as homework help, SAT prep, and libraries
  • Offices or administrative areas

Avoid these “noisy” situations:

Similarly, Music programming can be disrupted by noise from areas outside their facility, such as:

  • Under or near basketball gyms – The impact noise of participants running and playing in a gymnasium is very difficult to isolate. While Music programming will rarely disturb gym activities, a bouncing ball can be easily picked up by highly sensitive recording studio microphones or disrupt lessons and rehearsals. 
  • Active/noisy streets – External windows are a challenge to soundproof. High traffic patterns, ambulances, and general city life can disrupt Music activities.
  • Central heating, air conditioning units, elevators – The motors or background noise of these types of units are problematic, especially when near recording studio facilities.

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