Bienen sophomore Lily Kern practices with other French horn players in Northwestern’s Segal Visitors Center parking garage. (Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer)
Bienen sophomore Lily Kern practices with other French horn players in Northwestern’s Segal Visitors Center parking garage.

Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Look and Listen: Bienen students’ parking lot practices

November 10, 2022

Welcome to Look and Listen: The Daily’s multimedia series where reporters bring together the sights and sounds of Evanston and the Northwestern community. You can contact the photo editor by emailing [email protected] or the audio editor at [email protected].

Until Chicago winter sets in, pedestrians on lakeside strolls can often hear loud notes echoing from Northwestern’s parking garages on south campus. For students of the Bienen School of Music, the lots offer an impressive echo, an escape from cramped practice rooms and a chance to play together. While taking a closer look at these parking lot practices, hear why they keep playing next to cars and concrete in their own words and notes. 

Bienen sophomore Lily Kern majors in French horn performance. Kern said she and other Bienen students often play in the Lakeside Parking Structure when they have excerpts to practice for a concert since the lot has good acoustics.

Hear Kern practice




LILY KERN: My name is Lily Kern and I play French horn.


LILY KERN: It’s kind of dead in the practice rooms, like the way you sound, so like, I’d come out here — people come out here to play things that they’re more comfortable with so that it sounds better.


LILY KERN: I actually really don’t remember why I chose horn. I think it was because it was the hardest instrument out of the brass family, and I am competitive.



Bienen sophomore Angel Salinas majors in bass trombone performance and music theory. Salinas said he practices in the lot every week or two because it’s “very echo-y and fun to play in.”

Hear Salinas practice




ANGEL SALINAS: Hi, I’m Angel and I play bass trombone.


ANGEL SALINAS: It’s just very echo-y and fun to play in, I guess.


ANGEL SALINAS: When I had to choose between, like, band, art and choir and everything, I thought music would be cool to do, you know, so I chose band.



Kern often practices in groups. She came to the Segal Visitors Center parking garage to practice with first-year brass performance graduate student Mark Morris, and Bienen junior Colin Akers joined in after hearing Kern and Morris from the nearby Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.

Hear Kern, Morris and Akers practice




LILY KERN: I think it’s more fun to play with a group of people out here, cause we’re kind of lonely in the practice rooms.


MARK MORRIS: I’m Mark Morris, I play the French horn.

COLIN AKERS: My name’s Colin Akers and I play the horn.

COLIN AKERS: I was walking by — heard people playing, knew where they were — so I decided to join.


MARK MORRIS: I picked the instrument at a middle school tryout night for band and just decided that it was something I wanted to do. There was no special “aha” moment.


MARK MORRIS: This is a really fun place to play excerpts, because a lot of them are loud and high and it reverberates really nicely.

[music, conversation]


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @seegergray

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