By Eizaz Azhar

Welcome back to part II of our renovation and process of moving premises. In the weeks that have gone by, there has been a large amount of work completed - roughly 30%; the framework for the new shop is finally done as are most of the guitar/musical instrument wall hangers and installation of slatwalls. The new shop will not only consist of a music shop with a variety of instruments displayed but also a cafe with a stage and performances (by yours truly), a proper recording studio, teaching/rehearsal rooms and a jamming/rehearsal studio for rent, in a monster of a venue encompassing 13,000+ square feet in total. It will be an interesting concept to say the least, and we will probably be the only music school in Malaysia with an in-house, professional-grade, fully-equipped and miked recording studio - not only for recording but also for teaching!

Interestingly enough this lot was never intended for a commercial store; rather, it is actually an allocated lot for the food court of the shopping complex Endah Parade in Sri Petaling, hence the abundance of space. Each food stall had its own dedicated lot, which sort of made things easier for us to build individual teaching rooms since the infrastructure was already up.

A dual-layer gypsum board is build for each room and insulated in layers of mineral wool to keep the sound from leaking. This also ensures better acoustics for each room and less inteferance from outside noises.

Air-cond ducts run in and out of each room via the ceiling to keep it cool and comfortable for teaching. An issue is sound leakage through the air-cond ducts but this was kept to a minimum amount due to the mineral wool.

Slatwalls - a kind of building material that allows for hanging items for display - have been installed throughout the building.

Needless to say I am at the forefront of it all...!

To be continued...

By Eizaz Azhar

Hi guys! Most of you may know me as a teacher in the music store Mama Treble Clef Studio and in-house musician (technician/admin guy/IT department/repairman/brute strength lifting dude/the guy you turn to when everything goes wrong and want things fixed in the shortest time possible without prior notice) among other things. I've been given the task of chronicling events that will be going on for the next good month or two. So here I am, writing this on my (infamous red-flamed decorated Toshiba Qosmio that weighs 7kg) notebook in a new, empty lot that we will be moving in shortly. Thing is, we've been talking about moving and all for quite some time now as some of my students might be able to attest to, and it's finally coming around. This, however exciting and fun it may seem - and actually is, I assure you - poses a bit of an issue to some members of the team (okay only two), particularly Ray Lee (right) and myself.

A bit about the company background; we started out as a small, miniature lot with practically 3 guitars, 2 pianos and around 50 students back in 2005-2006. Back then it was much simpler; a 300 square foot room that we basically furnished and renovated ourselves. A few years later we came up with the recording studio which we also furnished on our own, and the current 3 conjoined lots which, yes, we did ourselves. One reason was due to our budget (read; lack thereof) and simply because we didn't have much to do around the tiny store anyway, and also picked up a bunch of skills - mainly dangerous, tiring and monotonous - like installing partitions, wiring the ceiling and lighting, as well as sitting in an enclosed room with cancerous toxic fumes.
And now we're moving for a third and possibly final time to this monster of a venue, enough to house all divisions of the shop, inclusive of a recording studio, performance stage, showroom, cafe and music classes (natural disaster relief spot, emergency gathering area - who knows what else, really).
So anyway, we've had some experience in renovating and doing things on our own as you can see, but this is a whole different experience. It's a different thing furnishing a 400 square foot venue versus a 13,000 square foot venue. First of all, the cost involved is much larger, and there are some things you just can't do without spending half a year trying to pry open (i.e. the air-cond ventilation ducts which are drawn from the shopping complex's mains). Then there's the issue of decorating the space, purchasing enough stock to fill it up so that it doesn't look like the North/South Korea demilitarized zone, and finding reliable staff that show up on time and disappear when required (as opposed to random times and the worst possible moments where you feel like strangling the nearest form of intelligent life not unlike a Phua Chu Kang script).
To Be Continued....