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Will D. '20 – Making Improvements to the Calhoun Theater

The Inspiration: I knew I wanted to do something that involved music and science. I'm really interested in both of those fields, and I was looking for an intersection between them. 

I play piano and cello, and  I've just been really interested in how sound works. We learned a bit about it in ninth grade physics, but I wanted to get more involved with the subject. What also interested me in this project was the fact that this was something that could actually be implemented here at Calhoun. I've been going here for so many years, I wanted to do something to give back to the community.

The Process: When I began researching and reading, I didn't understand all of the terms. Every time I came across a term I didn't understand, I would look it up and that would take me on a different tangent. By doing that, I built a baseline foundation and learned a lot more about how sound behaves in a room. Eventually, I decided it would be good to talk to a sound consultant in the theater.

We met and discussed what worked in [Calhoun’s] theater as well as what the flaws were. I had some questions for him about acoustics, and it was really positive because [our meeting] felt like a lesson. [Meeting him] made me realize how much all of my research had enabled me to understand [acoustics]. 

The Value of Junior Workshop: When you’re in an environment that is not a school, you're not constantly being told what to do. People aren't always following up on you, making sure you get things done, but they still need to get done. So, self-driven accountability and initiative are the two biggest takeaways for me

What’s Next: I want to learn more about overtones and harmonics; why certain sounds are attractive to our ears.