Since the 1970s, the Student Center’s Music Listening Room (MLR) served students as a place for relaxation, a cool atmosphere and often for mid-day naps. However, by Spring 2010 the Student Center will convert the MLR into a new location for Under the Couch (UtC).
“For some people, relaxing means lying down on a couch and listening to music with their eyes closed. For others it means strumming away at a guitar or meeting a group of people to jam,” said Evan Seguin, president of the Musicians Network, which runs UtC. “It’s hard to say exactly what a day at the new Under the Couch will be like because it all depends on what Tech students actually want to use the space for.”
With its recently decreasing utilization and the expansion of the music department, the Student Center decided last year to combine MLR with UtC, which has been in its current location (the ground-level space under the Couch Building) for over 15 years.
Weekly live concerts and recording services currently hosted at UtC will be moved to the new lounge. In addition, the daily music library offered by the MLR will be still there as well. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“The goal for the daytime operations of the space is to have a livelier version of the MLR. It’s ultimately a place for people to go to relax in between classes,” Seguin said, “Some people may want to eat their lunch and see Tech students perform. We want to provide a space where people can go and enjoy music in whichever way they enjoy it most.”
The new space will largely be fitted to meet the needs of the Musicians Network, which will retain control of the UtC lounge. It will feature two sound-proof recording studios with a live mixing booth, locker storage space for instruments, and a stage for performances.
During the day, the lounge will operate similar to the MLR. It will feature comfortable furniture to relax and nap, possible open mic hours during lunch, occasional live bands, magazines, board games, increased desk space and a massive music library.
One major change to this music library is the fact that the 40-year collection of CDs and 4000 vinyls – including many limited and original editions – will no longer be available. Those collections will all be digitized and available for use via the room’s music server.
The Student Center is still looking for the best option of where the vinyls and CDs should be stored. Officials are considering offering it to students at a discount.
Moving weekly live concerts to the new space will alleviate noise and parking problems experienced at its former residential location on West Campus.
The Student Center will sound-proof the floor and ceiling to prevent noise problems between the MLR and the study areas on the second floor of the Student Center. The room is specifically designed to be a performance venue, and it will be optimally outfitted for acoustic performance.
Seguin has also collaborated with Tech’s radio station WREK to allow evening shows and events at UtC to be broadcast live.
“This is something we’ve always wanted to be able to do. I think that our organizations have very similar goals and can provide a lot to Tech students as a whole if we work together more often,” Seguin said.
Musicians Network and WREK have not finalized any details on this possible musical partnership, but representatives from both organizations have expressed excitement to work together in the same building.
The Musicians Network will retain control of the current UtC location until the end of the Spring 2010 semester. After that, campus officials and the music department will decide what to do with that space, which will most likely be used as offices for music faculty or storage.
“The move is really great for our organization, and, more importantly, to students to experience, create and share music,” Seguin said, “We are all very excited that this will be a huge step in bringing that to everyone on campus.”