Video interview with Eton College Pipe Major Jim Motherwell BEM

Posted: 23 Dec 2014

The installation of a large bagpipe practice room at Eton College has made an important difference for the music department.  The new sound-isolating practice room, with its large acoustically glazed windows overlooking the beautiful gardens outside, enables the Pipe Major to hold lessons without disturbing other music classes taking place in the rest of the facility.

Pipe Major, Jim Motherwell BEM, explained the background to the room: "Bagpipes are very loud.  It isn't actually a woodwind instrument as such - it's classed as an instrument of war - so you can imagine how, in a college teaching bagpipes - especially if you've got multiple pipers playing - it is very loud."  Jim continued.  "But this room is very effective in containing the sound."

Talking about the installation of the dedicated bagpipe room at Eton College, Jim remarked: "The only thing that concerned me was that it wouldn't disrupt pupils or lessons so we managed to get it done during one of the big breaks when Eton broke up, so it was perfect.  I left this is a shell, came back after the holidays and the music room was installed."  Jim added: "I had a look at the build quality and it's immaculate, and it works really well."

It was important to Jim that the bagpipe practice room would be a pleasant teaching environment: "The one concern I had about this being placed inside the college was that I would not have any daylight in it, so they've managed to build around the three existing windows so I have three windows to look out of.  I can look over at the music school gardens to the trees and I get ambient daylight during the day - and the boys were happy with that as well."

Jim continued: "It's absolutely brilliant - it's one of the best music practice rooms I've been in, and the boys love it as well.  I've managed to make it a bit more homely for them by adding some pictures and it's a good teaching environment - and when you go out into the corridors or other teaching rooms you can't hear a sound from the room - and the bagpipes are pretty loud."

On the room's sound-isolating properties Jim added: "This room is very effective for noise supression because when you go out of the door and down the corridor there are another 16 rooms ranging from guitar playing to piccolo teaching, and when we play the bagpipes here they cannot hear us."

MusicPracticeRooms.com's sound-isolating music practice rooms offer a solution that controls noise at source, providing an ideal rehearsal space for musicians and singers.  The modular design allows for a wide range of sizes to accommodate musicians from a solo singer to a choir or a band.  The rooms can be relocated if required.  For comfort and to create a pleasant environment, the rooms are supplied fitted with integral lighting and fan-assisted ventilation.  Acoustically glazed windows are also possible.  Thanks to balanced internal acoustics the modules also make excellent recording studios with high sound quality.

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