VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1
SPECIAL ISSUE: REAPING THE REWARDS OF
THE PLAN FOR MOUNT HOLYOKE 2003
goals: Invest in technology and facilities needed for excellent
education Explore the creative use of information technology
in learning and teaching
to just what might be the most innovative practice technology
since Beethoven popularized the metronome, College musicians can
practice virtually anywhere with the simple push of a button--in
a Gothic cathedral, a baroque concert hall, a vast arena, or a
modern recital hall. To prepare for future performances in such
wide-ranging acoustical environments, musicians enter the "V-Room,"
V as in "virtual" acoustics.
Located in Pratt
Hall, the room works like this. A musician selects one of nine
location buttons on the room's wall panel and then starts playing;
his or her own sounds are then heard in a simulation of the "ambient
sound" of the selected location. Linda Laderach, associate professor
of music and an accomplished professional violinist, was the primary
force behind the V-Room acquisition. Laderach notes that she has
performed in such varied locations as an ambassador's residence
in Paris, churches of different sizes, and in large auditoriums--spaces
that call for very different playing styles. Most students, she
says, "are not yet aware of the adjustments such locations demand.
We need to prepare them for performing in a wide range of environments.
The V-Room helps do this."
The room is the first
of its kind in the Five College consortium. In fact, only a handful
of V-Rooms exists on the East Coast. For Laderach, the facility
reflects exciting ingenuity in the world of acoustical technology.
"The V-Room is a tangible example of how technology can be used
to enhance learning in the same way that the mirror, metronome,
tape recorder, and video do." The V-Room was part of the renovation
of Pratt Hall, a funding initiative of the Campaign for Mount