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Music Center

History of the Albert P. Smith Music Center

The music department is housed in the Albert P. Smith Music Center, a brick and masonry structure that was constructed in 1922 as a physical education building. The building continued to be used in its original purpose first by Strong Junior High School and then Grand Rapids Junior College until 1976 when the Ford Field House was completed.  The building stood vacant for three years until it was determined structurally sound for conversion into other educational uses.  Renovation work began in September 1979, and was completed in August 1980 allowing the Music Department to move into its newly adapted facility. The Music Center underwent a major $8.5 Million renovation during the 2016-17 academic year. At that time the interior of the structure was completely gutted and artistically remodeled to address the acoustic and sound transfer requirements of a world class music facility.

The Music Center is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted in any location on the GRCC campus. Eating and drinking is allowed in the student commons area on the first floor of the Music Center, but never in any room that has a computer or a piano. The Music Department faculty and staff are dedicated to providing the best educational environment possible and are very proud of our facilities. We therefore expect that all persons who use the Music Center to do so with great care and respect.

Take a Video Tour of the Albert P. Smith Music Center

Hours of Operation

The Albert P. Smith Music Center is open on Weekdays from 7 a.m. until 10:15 p.m. The building will close on Fridays at 5 p.m. 

The Music Center is open on weekends for special events only.

Practice Rooms

The Music Center provides sixteen practice rooms for student’s use. All practice rooms are equipped with a piano and a music stand and they are available free of charge. The practice room suite may be accessed on weekdays after 5 p.m. only by those students that are currently enrolled in music classes. Raider Card Scanning will monitor all students who access the practice room suite after 5 p.m.

There are specific practice rooms for percussion, and piano majors. In addition, piano majors may schedule the use of the concert grand piano to rehearse for recitals and juries. Music majors will practice at least two hours each day on their primary instrument.

Music Laboratories

The Music Center houses three Music Laboratories that are an essential part of our student’s learning.

The Piano Lab – located on the 3rd floor is used primarily for Piano Techniques Classes. This lab contains twelve digital piano workstations, and a teacher’s console. This lab enables the instructor to work with students individually or in groups. Open lab tutorial is scheduled in this lab each week. 

The Music Computer Lab – located on the first floor is a twenty-one-station Music Processing/Audio Recording lab. Each station is equipped with a state of the art Macintosh computer and compatible piano keyboard as well as headphones and inputs for microphones and electric instruments. Students use the lab for music processing, ear training and digital recording/sequencing.  Students can also use the Music lab for required listening in their Music History and Music Appreciation courses. 

The Recording Technology Suite – is located on the second floor of the Music Center. The suite contains five digital audio workstations, a sound stage/green room, dead room and Recording Technology classroom and Recording Studio.

Student Recitals

Recitals are not a requirement for graduation; however we do recommend that students who are expecting to transfer to a senior institution prepare a recital. Students who choose to perform a sophomore recital will follow the procedure listed below:

  • Students must be enrolled in applied study during the semester of their recital.
  • Submit the Recital Permission Form at your MUS 261 performance jury.
    This will normally be in the semester prior to your expected recital. The form must be signed by your applied instructor and on file in the Music Office to begin the process.
  • Perform a Recital Hearing for the music faculty approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the scheduled date of the recital. Your applied instructor must be present for this hearing. All of the material being performed on the recital must be presented at this hearing. If the student is approved for a recital no substitutions or additions of repertoire may occur after this point. The sophomore recital is performed in lieu of the MUS 262 Jury and the faculty who are present at the recital will award your grade. 
  • Complete the Recital Checklist Form. This form is available in the music office.

The music faculty will encourage all music majors to be in attendance at sophomore recitals. We feel that it is important that music students support each other in their musical pursuits and that they acknowledge the effort and hard work required in preparing a recital.

Concert/Recital Attendance

All students who study applied music and their co-requisite performance classes are required to attend at least five concerts each semester. You may attend five types of concerts each semester but at least one of them must be a classical concert:

  1. A classical concert – for example one presented by the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Kent Philharmonic Orchestra, or  Opera Grand Rapids. Other examples might be a recital presented by faculty members from GRCC or another college/university in the area. You must attend at least one classical concert each semester.
  2. A pop concert – such as a presentation at the Van Andel Arena or The Intersection.
  3. A jazz concert – such as a presentation at Founders on the first Sunday of each month or the many Jazz Series at SCMC or Fountain Street Church. The GRCC Jazz Night concerts or similar concerts presented at other universities would also work well for this genre.
  4. An educational concert – any performance presented by the GRCC choral or instrumental ensembles and those of any other college or university. You may also attend high school performances to meet the requirement for this type of concert.
  5. A student choice concert – Students must clear this type of concert with one of the music faculty that teach Performance Class prior to attending the concert.

Students who are studying Applied Music and enrolled in Performance Class are required to write three scholarly essays each semester discussing three of the concerts that they attend. You must write one of your papers on a classical concert. These papers require that the student research the performers, repertoire, conductor and genre being presented so that the paper becomes more than just a subjective statement of the author’s likes and dislikes about the concert. Instructions for preparing these papers will be discussed and presented to music students at the first meeting of Performance Class each semester.

College-Owned Instruments

Music Majors and Minors who play large or exotic instruments may check out one of the college owned instruments for use in any of the college ensembles. These instruments will be issued to students, free of charge, throughout the period of time that they are enrolled in that ensemble. Students must complete an instrument use form that is available in the main music office.