Pianos don't belong in dorm study spaces

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Photo Credit: Alexandra Vanderhider | Daily Texan Staff

Study spaces are sanctuaries — spaces to master a subject, discover a new field of knowledge and gather your thoughts. 

These are hard to do when someone is playing the piano so loudly that you can’t hear yourself think.

Music is beautiful and it should be appreciated but not in a place where people are trying to study. UT residence halls should move pianos out of the study rooms and into another part of campus or into dorm recreational areas.

Shauna Sobers, University Housing and Dining’s assistant director for residence life, explained the significance of pianos in residential halls.

“I think they bring an element of togetherness and life to the dorms,” Sobers said. “The pianos also give students an accessible avenue to practice and hone their musical skills.”

Sobers also said there are quiet hours in most dorms, but it is up to the residence staff to enforce them. Students need to study outside of quiet hours as well, though, and while the pianos are meant for enjoyment, students end up resenting the music instead of appreciating it.

Education and Plan II freshman Isabel Riley shares this sentiment.

“Students who play the piano are so talented, but it’s hard for me to recognize that in the moment, because I’m trying so hard to concentrate and I just can’t do it with loud music in the background,” Riley said. “When I complain, people just tell me to go somewhere else, but sometimes I can’t be in my room, and it’s too late for me to walk somewhere outside the dorm.”

According to Sobers, there are currently 14 pianos dispersed throughout campus in various dorms. While moving these many pianos is a lot of work, the advent of summer provides an opportunity for it to be done without students occupying dorm spaces. 

University Housing and Dining should relocate the pianos. In some dorms, specifically the honors quad, there are recreational areas, such as the Q, which have space to accommodate a piano. Residence halls should take advantage of these spaces, where students are encouraged to relax and talk to each other, to add the additional enjoyment that pianos are supposed to bring.

While some dorms don’t have these spaces, the University can first proceed by moving pianos in the dorms that do. This way, students who want to practice still have easy access to an instrument, and at the same time, students who want to concentrate can study in peace in the comfort of their own homes. By moving pianos to recreational areas, UT can accommodate both parties.

Dronamraju is a public health freshman from Dallas.