On Jan. 30 Lawrence Jones Middle School, along with the Middle School Performing Arts Booster Association (MSPABA), is proud to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the public to present their new band room, a project almost two years in the making. The new room, located in a brand-new building attached to the school, is a big upgrade to the previous room which was too small and unfavorable for music classes.
“The old room was in the school but had low ceilings not conducive to the acoustics needed for students to learn instruments and ensemble playing,” says Oliver Fraenkle, Band director for Lawrence Jones Middle School who teaches the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands and jazz band. “It is bigger than the old room and has three practice rooms, which was important to me.
The biggest difference is the super high ceiling. The new ceiling is up to three times higher. I could almost touch the old ceiling with the baton standing on the podium!”
In addition, the new room removed any parallel surfaces to make a near neutral acoustic environment with very little unnatural sound reflection. Previously, there was a cavity in the middle of the room, precluding students on one side of the room from hearing students on the opposite side.
During a time when we are seeing some schools reduce their offerings in music and the arts, it is reassuring to know that the Rohnert Park Cotati Unified School District places value on retaining music instruction as part of our local education system. Learning music has been shown to help develop language and reasoning skills, help master memorization skills, develop hand-eye coordination, foster a sense of achievement, improve teamwork and engagement in other subjects, and increase spatial intelligence, among others. Music can be helpful for fighting stress and students in the LJMS music program also learn other essential life skills such as leadership, teamwork, independence and decision-making. Now the students will have a more adequate and beautiful space in which to collaborate and learn music.
District funding paid for the construction of the new band room, which finished in time for this school year. The room will accommodate between 100 to 150 students every day and give them a place to both practice as a group and individually in the separate practice rooms.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. The 8th grade jazz band will be performing at the event and some current and former band teachers may be in attendance.
“It [The new room] is amazing,” says Fraenkle. “It also has a state-of-the-art sound system and huge windows with natural light. The old room had no real windows. I love the beautiful ceiling and the windows and the practice rooms. Thank you for the room - it makes a huge difference and will serve many students now and in the future.”