I should have posted this entry five days ago.
But as awesome as blogging is, sometimes academics comes first – specifically, I’m referring to my 8.022 pset, my 18.03 pset, my big humanities paper, my 20.020 group final project…and so on. Not to mention, the next issue of MURJ is almost ready to hit the presses, which means the chief editors and production staff – Melis, Dawn ’08, Hannah ’09, Ivana ’11, and me – have been hard at work getting the magazine, which is entirely student-produced, ready to send to the publishers. It’s so hosing but so awesome at the same time, and I can’t wait to see the issue come out in just a few weeks!
But anyway. As you may already know, last Thursday was Drop Date, which refers to the final day that MIT students can “drop” a class (remove it from their registration) with no penalty. At MIT, Drop Date occurs around the tenth or eleventh week of each academic term…which, as I understand it, is much later than pretty much every other school in the country. Kind of cool.
And with Drop Date, comes Piano Drop!
Piano Drop is a longstanding tradition where Baker House residents drop a piano off the roof of their dorm onto the “testing site” below. According to Matt – who, as a former Bakerite, ought to know – the Drop was first conceived of in 1972 by Charles Bruno ’74, “who wanted to bring back the grand old hacks of the past.” The drop was performed annually until 1984, followed by sporadic recurrences, including 2005, 2006, 2007, and – of course – this year!
So last Thursday, after my classes were done for the day, I grabbed a few friends and headed over to Baker House to witness my very first Piano Drop. Unfortunately, my camera’s currently out of commission, but Ken ’11 (one of the ARTalk bloggers and a fellow Simmons resident) was kind enough to let me borrow his rather professional photographs to use instead. You can also check out his coverage of Piano Drop in this entry.
Ken, Teresa ’11, and me. (“Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades oh no…”)
Oops, who let the sun into this photo?
Piano Drop is kind of a big deal. You can read more about it here, as well as a pretty harsh article by the Boston Globe here.
The final result. I do feel sort of bad for the piano…
I think Ken looks a little too happy here….
Ooh, what could be underneath? A different Teresa ’11 investigates.
In closing: A glamor shot of the Green Building, with one of the stately Pyramids of Killian Court in the foreground.
Before I get back to work, one last thought for those of you still working on your final decision about where to enroll next year: remember, when it comes to colleges, there are no wrong choices. Only good ones and better ones.
Ahh! This entry hits so close to home, since I live in Baker, work with MURJ, and have an opinion about the Globe…I’ll address these one at a time…
The piano: It was SO old and totally unrecoverable, as always. Pre-Drop Date, the piano sat outside of Baker so everyone could see how old and crummy it was. If a child tried to learn how to play on this piano, they would be forever scarred and turned-off from music.
MURJ: No worries, Paul, you didn’t give too much away! This issue is hot (totally in color and oh-so-interesting!) We’ll blog about it when it comes out in ~1 week so that all of you prefrosh can see what’s been keeping us up at night.
Boston Globe: Yes, they are pretty mean to MIT. But, President Hockfield has begun writing op-eds for them. For example, this article.
The piano is a symbol of something old, complex and beautiful. Even if this particular piano never was any of these things, Piano Drop is distasteful and will be perceived as an insult to the symbol, music, art, workmanship etc.Keep doing it if you wish but MIT will not get a pass on this one.
For you history buffs here’s a link to one of the early non-MIT piano drops, and a link to an accidental piano drop.
The Green Building was the only way I managed to find my way home during CPW on the first day… I stayed in EC, and my friend told me that if I ever got lost, I should just look up, find the huge building, and walk there
Viva la hack! I do pity the innocent pianos, however. Well, they were artistic to the last…
BWAHAHA falling pianos.
ps. We promise no amazing pianos were destroyed, only old and practically unplayable pianos were used. There are musicians here, and we like to keep them happy! (plus, old pianos just break better)
Just out of curiosity, what issue is it going to be? I mean I was perusing past issues and each one has something like “the neuroscience issue” or “the biomedical issue” etc…
Wow, that article is pretty scathing. I am guessing the author is not an alum
@Anon: Actually, “theming” the issues is a fairly recent trend in MURJ, started just a year and a half ago by Melis and Dawn with Issue #14. It is fun though, so themed issues will definitely be sticking around for a few more semesters at least
Anyway, the upcoming issue’s theme can be very loosely defined as the physical sciences – it’s basically really cool things from Courses 2, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 22. The tagline is actually “Chips, Scooters, and Asteroids.” (Hope I’m not giving too much away before publication, Melis! :D)
Fun fact: if you go back in the history of MURJ – all the old issues, except the elusive #1, are online – you’ll find that the covers used to be much more…interesting.
Theming!! I was wondering what it’s called and the word just didn’t strike me.
The Boston Globe never has anything nice to say about MIT. Why publicize that here?
Laura, I definitely understand your concern. But I linked to that article because I wanted to – in the interest of equity – give at least a little consideration to the people who think Piano Drop is silly or a waste. I, obviously, happen to enjoy Piano Drop. After all, the pianos are old and donated.
Regarding The Boston Globe specifically: I agree that it rarely says anything positive about MIT. But that doesn’t from being popular here and elsewhere; their article is currently even one of the top hits on Google if you search “MIT Piano Drop.” Part of the reason I posted that article was so people could see just how silly The Globe (indeed, the media in general) can sometimes be.
Tom Scholz, leader of Boston, went to MIT (though I’m sure you already knew that!)!
The 2007 Piano Drop is featured in this year’s Baker i3 video, if you just want to look at that instead.
I’m so grateful for this post. Not a single blog has been put up by ANY of the bloggers in three days. Keep up the good work Paul.
Thanks for blogging this! Wished I could have made it; I think I was busy practicing piano that day (oh the irony…). I guess I’ll have to catch it next year! :-D
If you want to help with MURJ (provided you are in MIT of course), can you ? Or do you have to be selected ?
My Mom mentioned that she saw something about this in the newspaper, but I thought she was joking :-D
@Isshak: If you’re willing to help out, that’s good enough for MURJ! We’re not that picky…
you should blog steer roast!
my friend (who goes to MIT) says it is really awesome. and i think it is this weekend?