This academic term, Hope College students have had to face a bevy of unique and difficult challenges in terms of their college experience. Not only have students had to adjust to online or asynchronous classes, we’ve also had to shift our perspective on social well-being; how can we responsibly and safely hang out with the people we care about? Additionally, it’s currently impossible to get a warm Dagwood from the Kletz, which should earn everybody a partial tuition refund.
The most pressing challenge for Hope students, however, has not yet been addressed. This year, there has been an addition to the Family Room in the Bultman Student Center (BSC) that not all students have been very enthusiastic about. I’m talking, of course, about that piano.
“I just don’t get why we need a piano in the Family Room,” Junior Bradley Cooper, Jr. said. “I mean, I go there to do homework and relax, not to listen to some kid play four-chord Adele songs with their eyes closed.”
Cooper’s perspective is certainly not the minority, but those who disagree with him seem to be quite vocal.
“The piano is in there for a reason,” Freshman Mia Dolan said. Dolan is a theater and dance double major. “If we’re not supposed to play it, why put it there? Everyone loves when I play the piano.”
Piano dissapprovers, however, argue that, while there isn’t necessarily a rule against playing the piano, refraining from playing it is more out of common courtesy than anything else.
“I don’t think that the piano should be a ‘display purposes only’ kind of thing, that would be weird,” Cooper said, “but if you’re sitting in the BSC and there are 20 other people in there doing homework or studying, it’s probably not the time to start acting like Elton John.”
Music students have reportedly defended the use of the piano, claiming that with the Jack H. Miller building’s new reservation system for practice rooms, music students need all the help they can get in regards to access to keyboard instruments.
Sophomore instrumental music education major Jackie Bosma said, “I can’t really blame people for playing that piano. Getting a practice room can be tricky sometimes.”
When I informed Bosma that Dolan is not, in fact, a music student, she seemed to change her tune.
“Oh, then absolutely she shouldn’t play the piano in the BSC,” Bosma said. “Aren’t people trying to study there? That’s obnoxious.”
Dolan, however, is not the only frequent visitor of the BSC piano. Sophomore Sebastian Wilder is known to sit at the bench for an hour at a time, often playing three major seven chords in a row, and then just staring down at the keys.
“I just have such a passion for music,” Wilder said. “I want to share my music with the students of Hope College.” During our conversation, the look in his eyes was not dissimilar to that of a golden retriever.
“I’m all about people sharing their talents and passions,” Cooper said, “but I wish they would do it in an ensemble, or during a rehearsal or a practice space — not in peoples study space.”
Due to the complaints about the piano, Student Life has decided to detune every note so that playing chords is completely impossible.