Practice Spaces & Venue Access

Guidelines for Students

Since the opening of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts (RCMA) students and faculty of the Bienen School of Music enjoy a greater number and higher quality of performance and practice venues than at any time during the school’s history.

The following policies and procedures describe the spaces to which students have access and for what purpose, as well as how access is gained. Every effort has been made to meet the needs of all students as equitably as possible while preserving the integrity of our state-of-the-art facilities.

Practice Rooms

The building maps below illustrate the locations of practice rooms available in the Ryan Center and Regenstein Hall based on the categories outlined in this section. A legend of access groups is shown at the top of each page.

Regenstein, Floor 1 & Ryan Center, Floor 2 Ryan Center, Floor 3

It is the Bienen School’s general policy that all individual practice is expected to take place in a practice room.

The Bienen School boasts more than 130 practice rooms, most of which are located in the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. All RCMA practice rooms are accessible only by Bienen music majors. Practice rooms in Regenstein Hall are available to music majors as well as to non-majors during any quarter they’re enrolled in lessons and/or an ensemble.

All practice rooms are available 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. All rooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most rooms can be reserved in advance via a weekly sign-up sheet posted outside each room, although some rooms may only be reserved for specific purposes.

Access to all practice rooms requires a registered HID-enabled WildCARD, and student cards are programmed with different access to certain rooms depending on a student’s area of study. Questions about WildCARD access should be directed to Music Facilities staff via email at

Below is a comprehensive list of all practice rooms and their designated access groups:

Non-Major (28)

Access Group

Any Northwestern student who has been granted non-major practice access, and all Bienen School music majors


Regenstein, Floor 1: 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 146, 148, 150, 152, 154,156, 158, 160, 161, 162

Non-major access is only valid during quarters of active enrollment in lessons and/or an ensemble.

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Instrument / Voice (63)

Access Group

Bienen School music majors


RCMA, Floor 2: 145, 175 (B-C), 177 (A-B-C), 179 (A-B-C), 181A
RCMA, Floor 3: 114, 116 (A-B-C), 118 (A-B-C), 120 (A-B-C), 122 (B-C), 124 (B-C), 126, 128, 130, 132, 134, 135, 139, 146, 154, 165 (A-B), 167 (A-B-C), 169 (A-B-C), 171 (A-B-C), 173 (A-B-C), 175 (A-B-C), 177 (A-B-C), 179 (A-B-C), 181 (A-B-C), 183 (A-B-C), 185A

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Collaborative Practice (10)

Access Group

Bienen School music majors


RCMA, Floor 3: 143, 144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 151, 152, 153, 155

Rooms may only be reserved in advance for collaborative practice between Bienen performance majors and an accompanist/collaborative pianist, or by any student chamber ensemble that includes a pianist. Otherwise, rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis; however, occupants must yield to collaborative practice, even if no reservation is in place.

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Chamber Ensemble (4)

Access Group

Bienen School music majors


Regenstein, Floor 1: 117, 119, 137, 139

Rooms may only be reserved in advance by student chamber ensembles, in person only at the Faculty Support Center (RCMA 2-000), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Percussion (7)

Access Group

Bienen School percussion majors


Regenstein, Floor 1: 108, 110, 112, 114, 116, 121
RCMA, Floor 2: 175A

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Jazz Percussion (1)

Access Group

Bienen School jazz percussion majors


RCMA, Floor 2: 181B

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Harp (1)

Access Group

Bienen School harp majors


RCMA, Floor 3: 124A

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Piano (8)

Access Group

Bienen School piano majors


RCMA, Floor 3: 160*, 162, 164, 166, 168, 170, 172, 174

*RCMA 3-160 should be used for practice with prepared piano, which should receive priority access to this room if other piano practice rooms are available.

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Graduate Piano (6)

Access Group

Bienen School graduate student piano majors


RCMA, Floor 3: 176, 178, 180, 182, 184, 186

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Duo Piano (2)

Access Group

Bienen School piano majors


RCMA, Floor 3: 141, 142

Rooms may be reserved in advance by Bienen School piano majors only, and are intended for duo-piano practice or for small chamber ensembles that include a pianist. They should not be used for individual practice or by chamber ensembles that do not include piano.

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Organ/Harpsichord (2)

Access Groups

Any student – major or non-major – enrolled in organ lessons, or any student who needs to practice organ or harpsichord for ensemble assignments


RCMA, Floor 3: 133, 137

Rooms may be reserved in advance by those students who are registered for organ or harpsichord lessons. They may also be used for individual organ/harpsichord practice or for collaborative/chamber ensemble rehearsals that include organ or harpsichord.

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Non-Major Lessons (2)

Access Group

Any graduate student enrolled to teach non-major lessons


RCMA, Floor 3: 156, 157

These rooms are reserved for the exclusive use of graduate students teaching non-major lessons, and they may be accessed by those students on a first-come, first-served basis whenever the room is not in use for a lesson.

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Practice Rooms Quick Summary

  • All independent rehearsal is expected to take place in a practice room
  • Access hours for all practice rooms are 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week

  • Most practice rooms can be reserved via sign-out sheet posted outside each room

  • Chamber ensemble rooms may be reserved in advance only at the Faculty Support Center (RCMA 2-000)

  • Student WildCARDs allow varied access depending on major and area of study

  • Contact Music Facilities ( with any questions or problems related to WildCARD access

Large Rehearsal Rooms

The Bienen School’s two large ensemble rehearsal rooms, the Pick-Staiger Rehearsal Room and Regenstein 011, are primarily for use by the Bienen School’s performing ensembles and conducting classes. These curricular activities, as well as occasional use of the rehearsal room by organizations that have rented Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, are given priority access to the spaces. Managing the schedule of daily activities in these rooms is intricate and complex, and availability is very limited.

However, the Bienen School understands the benefit to many students and student ensembles to have access to large practice spaces. In an effort to allow the use of these rooms, policies have been established for each as described below.

Pick-Staiger Rehearsal Room

Bienen students are welcome to practice in the Pick-Staiger Rehearsal Room on a first-come, first-served basis when the space is not in use and only when the building is open. Operating hours for Pick-Staiger Concert Hall are 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, whenever classes are in session, and vary during academic breaks and summer.

A schedule of each day’s activities will be posted outside the room so students can see when the space may be available. However, these schedules are subject to change without notice, and students are expected to vacate at the request of Concert Management Office staff, including student house managers.

Regenstein 011

All percussion students have access to room 011 on the lower level of Regenstein Hall during regular building hours, 7 a.m. to midnight. Additionally, all other Bienen students are welcome to practice in Regenstein 011 on a first-come, first-served basis between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight, seven days a week.

Important Note

Bienen large rehearsal rooms are busy spaces, often involving a significant amount of set-up prior to the start of classes and rehearsals.

It is critical all students ensure these spaces remain clean and any equipment used is returned to its proper storage location.

If use of large rehearsal rooms results in unreasonable inconvenience for curricular ensembles or other tenants, access will no longer be provided to students.

Performance Venues

Performance venues are precisely that: spaces intended for performances and dress rehearsals, as well as other curricular activity. They are not intended to support individual student or student ensemble practice.

However, the school recognizes the value for Bienen students to practice and make recordings in a performance venue. Students are allowed to reserve a limited amount of time each term in McClintock Choral and Recital Room and Regenstein Master Class Room (MCR) through the Concert Management Office (CMO) as described below.

Users who want to make recordings undisturbed should post signage to this effect on all doors leading into the venue.

Student Reservation Guidelines

  • Students may ONLY reserve McClintock and MCR.
  • Operating hours for both venues are 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., and students must vacate no later than 9:45 p.m. so the room and equipment can be properly secured.
  • Reservations may be made in person ONLY at CMO during booking hours (see below).
  • Just before their scheduled time, students must check out a Millennium access card at CMO and leave their own WildCARD in its place. The access card should be returned immediately following the reservation. The charge for a lost access card is $35.
  • Consistent failure by any student to adhere to policies and/or instructions from CMO staff may result in the suspension or revocation of venue access privileges.

Booking Hours

Reservations may only be booked in person at CMO with a member of full-time staff during designated hours.

  • Monday and Tuesday – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday and Friday – 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Scheduling Windows & Limits

Due to their high demand throughout the school, student reservations in McClintock and MCR are limited as described below.

  • “Week of” reservations - Beginning each Monday at 9 a.m., students may reserve up to four hours total through the following Sunday at 10 p.m., regardless of any advance-reservation hours used by the student.
  • Up to four weeks in advance - Students may also make reservations up to three weeks beyond the current week. These advance reservations are limited to two (2) non-consecutive two-hour blocks, and students may not reserve more than four hours this way each quarter.
  • More than four weeks in advance - Only students scheduling their recital dress rehearsal or CMO-assisted recordings (additional fee) may reserve time more than four weeks in advance. Time in venues for recitals and dress rehearsals does NOT count toward a student’s reservation hours for that quarter.

Student Recital Dress Rehearsals

After requesting and confirming their student recital with CMO using the recital scheduling process, students may schedule a dress rehearsal in the venue where the recital has been booked. Dress rehearsals are limited to two hours, including time for set-up and take-down, and scheduling is based solely on the availability of the venue. Time in venues for recitals and dress rehearsals does not count toward a student’s reservation hours for that quarter.


Classrooms are not available for students to reserve for individual practice. However, chamber ensembles are regularly scheduled in classrooms when other more-appropriate venues cannot be found. Additionally, student requests for classrooms will be considered for alternate purposes, such as mock auditions or recordings.

Any Bienen student wishing to reserve classroom space must make their request in person at the Faculty Support Center in RCMA 2-000. Prior to any scheduled reservation, students must pick up an access card during business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Access cards must be returned no later than 10 a.m. the following business day. Students are expected to stow all stands and chairs following use of any classroom, and ensure the space is left clean and in order.

Student organizations/groups seeking a venue for a meeting, presentation, or other non-musical activity may request a classroom with Music Facilities staff via email at ( All such requests are subject to availability and are granted at the discretion of the Music Facilities office.

Classrooms available for reservation by students are:

  • RCMA, Lower Level: 111, 113, 115, 121
  • RCMA, Floor 1: 160, 164, 168, 172, 176, 180

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My WildCARD won’t grant me access to a practice room I should be able to access based on my major/area of study. Who should I contact?

A. Questions regarding your WildCARD access should be directed to Music Facilities at

Q. Why am I limited to just four hours in McClintock and MCR each quarter?

A. First, the four-hour limit each term applies only to reservations made in advance (i.e., between one and four weeks ahead). Each week a student may reserve up to four additional hours during that week, subject to venue availability, which do not count toward the limit of four advance reservation hours.

Secondly, the limit on venue use allows all students the best chance of securing a performance space when they need it most. Whether it’s recording a demo for auditions or scheduling additional rehearsal time prior to a recital, these limitations help to ensure a performance venue is available when students need one for specific purposes.

Q. Does time I book in advance count toward my weekly limit when I ask to reserve time “week of”?

A. No. Time reserved in advance is considered entirely separate from time booked “week of.”. For example: a student who, in Week 3, reserves two hours in a performance venue during Week 6 can still reserve up to an additional four hours during Week 6 (subject to availability) provided the booking occurs during Week 6.

Q. Does my recital dress rehearsal count toward my total advance reservation hours in a quarter?

A. No, recital dress rehearsals do not count toward the four-hour limit on advance reservations in that quarter.

Q. If I need to trade my personal WildCARD for a special Millennium access card to enter a performance venue, can I still access my locker?

A. Yes, the Millennium access cards for performance venues will also work wherever a Bienen student’s WildCARD typically works.

Q. Is there another performance space on campus where I can make a reservation?

A. Yes, students may consider using Lutkin Hall, a 286-seat venue located at 700 University Place, which has a Steinway “B” (7-ft.) piano. Separate rental fees may apply and are the responsibility of the student. 

Lutkin is managed by Norris University Center, and more information can be found by calling (847) 491-7285 or sending an email to