An Inside Look at The Music Resource Center

Story and Photo by Patricia Alvord

A widely under-estimated major among many Central Michigan University students is music. A music major is essentially a student who has a lot on their plate for many years to come: they attempt to perfect their craft while also taking 18, 19, even 20 credit hours per semester.

The benefit, however? These students have an abundance of resources right at their fingertips.

The Place with Accessible Audio
The Music Resource Center – a center that caters to all types of students and is there to make all of our lives easier. It’s a special place in the the school of music many don’t know about, a secret location where all students are welcome, but rarely used to its fullest.

“We are a resource for our patrons. We can check out materials like CDs. We have headphones, MIDI practice rooms and we help with printing, computer usage and copying. We are a smiling face here to greet the students as they come in,” said MRC Student Assistant Holly Moore.

With over 20,000 CDs and recordings, the collection and options are pretty extensive. The Music Resource Center is located on the first floor on the music building and houses over CDs, phonograph records, music reference books and course reserve materials.

Moore, a sociology major, explains what she enjoys most about being a student assistant for the MRC.

“I think it’s being able to see my peers and get to just be a resource and help students out wherever I can,” Moore said. “I really think it is being a part of the community and being able to help students when they need it because this building is community on it’s own. Plus, it keeps me involved with music as someone who is not a music major.”

The school of music is home to two different music libraries with two librarians: Laura Thompson, who is one of the faculty reference librarians at CMU is the university’s music bibliographer and works in Park Library. Carol Hebert, Supervisor of Music Resources works with the music resource center and the Ensemble library, but is primarily responsible for taking care of the CMU ensembles on campus.

“Ensemble Library is mainly in-house, so we’re really not open to the CMU public. Anyone who is involved in a CMU Ensemble has music that comes from this area, but in general, the music that students outside the departments are looking for would be over at Park Library,” Hebert said.

Hebert was a student vocalist herself and graduated from Central Michigan University in 1997. Now, she serves as one of two music librarians in the School of Music and touches on what she loves most about her job.

“Working with students, I learn so much from having conversations with them and they’re very energetic, very enthusiastic about the world,” Hebert said.

If you choose to take a peek into the music resource center, you’re sure to find those who are willing to help and are very passionate about music and the collection.

“I think it’s a pretty extensive collection. Often times we have people come in asking for certain composers or certain pieces, sometimes they want a certain piece done by a certain ensemble so they’ll ask for recordings of something by Shostakovich that’s done by a certain orchestra, and a lot of times we’re able to find that for them,” Moore said.

The Music Resource center has modern music in additional to more traditional music. They have selections from recent musicals, modern jazz and concert music as well. All of the concerts put on in the The School of Music are recorded so that students can find previous concerts they performed individually or with an ensemble. Specifically, if you’re looking for a recording done five or even 10 years ago or if you wish to hear how a previous group performed, it can most likely be found in the MRC.

Students may feel that the MRC has nothing to offer for those who are not music majors or reside in the School of Music, but according to Moore, this is certainly not the case.

“Even if you’re not a music student or studying music, you should definitely come check it out and take a look. We have lots of different stuff. If you want some good study music, I would definitely suggest coming to check out some of the stuff that we have. It is closed stack, which means that they can’t come browse our collection; however, everything is online on the library website, you can search it.”