July 24, 2020

CIM Partners with Wenger on One of the Company's Largest Practice Room Installations

Hosanna Carella
Student Hosanna Carella (Sloman) practices in one of the new rooms in 1609 Hazel. (Photo by Rob Muller.)

Cleveland Institute of Music students will return in the fall not only to a new residence hall but to 22 state-of-the-art practice rooms situated on the first floor of 1609 Hazel.

The rows of soundproofed rooms – which offer a sophisticated acoustical design – likely will be very popular with the world’s most talented classical music students. While practicing, students will hear only what they need to hear: the music they are studying within that space and not from the room next door.

The modular-style units include the most cutting-edge technology in the world, providing students with an optimal environment for playing and self-recording.

Students also will be able to customize each room to sound like one of nine different performance spaces. Press a button and you’re in a small recital hall. Press another button and it sounds like you’re practicing in a space like Carnegie Hall. Press another button and you’re playing in a cathedral the size of Notre-Dame in Paris. Internal recording panels give instant feedback by allowing students to download their work directly onto a computer.

Student cellist Lydia Rhea (Kraut) is impressed with how she and other CIM students will be able to change to various performance areas.

“I’m most intrigued by the adjustable sound settings in the room,” Rhea said, “especially because for the foreseeable future we will not have access to playing in different spaces. It is such a great way for us to hear our sounds in a range of acoustical settings and be able to actually practice in those settings. Being able to record our playing and play it back in the room or download the files to our phone or computer is a massive step in technological advancement for musicians.”

These advanced practice rooms were built and installed by Wenger Corporation, the Minnesota-based company that pioneered sound isolation in music education. Wenger is also the industry leader in chairs, music stands, performance risers and other tools that outfit rehearsal and performance spaces around the world. In addition to CIM, Wenger has equipped such prominent music schools as the Manhattan School of Music in New York, Berklee College of Music in Boston, the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Harvard University and the Boston University School of Music’s prestigious Tanglewood Institute.

Wenger President and CEO Christopher S. Simpson says that his company is excited about how the rooms fit in so well at CIM.

“We’re pleased to partner with the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music on one of our largest ever higher education practice room installations,” Simpson said. “These rooms provide CIM students the ideal environment to hone their skills. Our patented technology offers incredibly realistic acoustical simulations and easy digital recording and playback. Guaranteed sound isolation minimizes distractions, which also helps musicians hear their optimal sound.”

CIM President and CEO Paul W. Hogle was effusive about the new additions for the Conservatory’s students.

“I’m so proud that we were able to include these practice rooms, with their high-quality acoustics and advanced technology, for our students,” Hogle said. “The addition of these 22 rooms – three of which are scaled to accommodate chamber ensembles – gives CIM students a very enviable ratio of three students per practice room and studio space. This access, coupled with Wenger’s acoustic technology, contributes significantly to CIM’s mission to empower the world’s most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and potential.”

The Wenger rooms address a major need outlined in Blueprint:100, CIM’s strategic plan for positioning the Institute and its students for continued success. Launched in 2017, the plan calls for investing in tangible improvements to the student experience. Among CIM’s first actions in response to Blueprint:100 was the upgrading of 36 practice rooms in the school’s main building in December 2018.