A Musician’s Arc, Noah Studio
(This text is written in the language of the author.)
As you might know, I’m a musician and maybe there are some more of you out there, coming to Japan, wanting to keep practicing, getting better and maybe even make it an income but don’t know, where you can do that, since Japanese apartments are tiny, the walls are thin and loud music is frowned upon. Don’t fret it, there are solutions.
While there are a ton of music studios around Tokyo, Akihabara just recently opened the latest one, of a chain called Noah Studio. Why Akihabara and not somewhere else? Well, there are other locations as well, but there is something unique about Akihabara. Ochanomizu, the district of Tokyo with the highest density in music stores is just around the corner, so is the Tokyo University of Beautiful Arts. And then there are idols. Tons and tons of them. Now you might think, “What do idols have to do with music studios?” Well, everything. But I will get to that a bit later.
The studio is located just on the edge of Akihabara on Chuo Avenue, easy to find and spacious. There are different practice rooms inside, varying in size, equipment and of course price range. There are piano rooms, band rooms and even a green room. The smaller band rooms fit 4 people, bigger ones are available. The piano rooms have just a concert piano inside, well insulated so you can focus on your own music, while the person next door can do their music as they like. The band rooms have a drum set, plenty of amps, mic stands, note stands and pretty much all you need for band practice inside. A keyboard is located in some, but can be put into any room.
Now, since this is a studio, not only can you practice, but you can also record your songs, original or cover, and burn it right there onto a CD. If you bring your own camera, or pay a bit extra to rent one, you can also film your performance. But wait, there is more. All rooms are equipped with internet, so you can stream your practice or studio live from inside the room to anywhere in the world. If you have your own equipment, as simple or as complex as you can possibly think of, the staff will provide help, if necessary, setting it all up. You can even ask them to be your cameraman, if you don’t have one of your own. All for some extra money, of course. Big mirrors on the room let you see, what you look like, lights in the bigger rooms let you see, what it would look like on stage and in the green room, you can get lost in the possibilities.
As the name says, the green room has green walls. You can also lay down green sheets and matts, so you get as much green area as possible and needed. With a computer in the corner of the room, your technician can then set you into any location that you like for your music video or stream. Your imagination and the hardware are the limit. But it’s a very high limit, so don’t fret it. You will most likely be able to do anything you like for your video.
There are tables in front of the rooms to chill, have a drink, a bite to eat or discuss the next steps of your performance. No food or drink is allowed inside the rooms though. Lights tell you, when your time is almost up and a display on the wall gives you the exact amount of time you have been inside the room.
Rooms are the most available around noon to early afternoon on any weekday, the evenings are packed with mostly students, practicing after school and on the weekends, you mostly have the slightly older generation of musicians. Local idols come practice there as well from time to time, as it is a cheap way to get a room, that lets you experience the lights of a stage and see directly, where you need a bit more work on the performance. Also, with the possibility to stream live, fans get the chance to watch them perform, even if they can’t go to the venue themselves. With social media being a big part of the idol’s life, streaming platforms like NicoNico, Showroom, Twitcast and so on are a very real source of income and a platform to gain new fans from other parts of the country and maybe even the world.
You can rent some equipment as well, if you can’t bring your own and a message board gives you news about events and people looking for band members or performers.
If you are a musician, by hobby or aspiring professional and serious about practicing, I suggest you check it out. It’s definitely better to practice in a studio once in a while that always at home. As I said, Ochanomizu is just around the corner, so if you get yourself a new axe there and want to try it out right away, why not just take it to Akihabara a few blocks down the road and shred it? Rock on! Or stay classy.