muzyQ. Apple hits all the right notes.

A professional musician never goes on stage without extensive rehearsals. It's critical that they have the space to practice and hone their craft before performing it in front of a paying audience. But it's also true that poor rehearsal conditions can be more of a hindrance than a benefit, and in extreme cases it can even result in loss of hearing. It's a major problem, and one that the Muziekmakers Centrum muzyQ in Amsterdam was specifically launched to address.

muzyQ’s initiator, co-founder, co-owner and general manager, Robin Lemmers, is a man on a mission. “When you go outside and the sun is shining, what do you do to protect your eyes? You put on your sun glasses. When you’re walking down the street and an ambulance with wailing sirens drives by, what do you do to protect your ears? Nothing! People just don’t realise how important their hearing is”.

During his 20-year career in the creative industry, Lemmers watched musicians struggle with the lack of properly equipped rehearsal space. “Ten years ago, I started making plans to create a high-quality environment where all kinds of people involved in music could rehearse, produce, support, showcase and enjoy this art form. When the opportunity to build such a facility presented itself a couple of years ago, I seized it with both hands. And now my dream has finally come true”.

Since muzyQ was going to be all about music and Apple is the platform of choice in the music industry, Lemmers had no trouble deciding on the IT infrastructure. “During the past three decades, I worked with both PCs and Apple products, so I could compare their performances on a daily basis. Apple always came out on top. From the very start, this was going to be an Apple-based building”. Rob Mekken, the external consultant who helped develop the Centre’s IT architecture, adds: “Though our focus was on the musicians, we had other things to consider as well: the till for the restaurant and coffee shop, the back-office and front-office systems, security. We wanted all these systems to be able to work with each other seamlessly”.

This philosophy extended to the security system, which was custom built for muzyQ. They contacted NewHer Systems, a Dutch company that specialises in developing Apple-compatible software, who custom-designed an Apple-based access control system so that all paying visitors receive an electronic key that limits their access to only those parts of the building they’re allowed to go.

And the pioneering didn’t stop there. To tackle the remaining software challenges, Muziekmakers Centrum turned to another Dutch company, Merlijn Automatisering, to provide them with an Apple-based solution for their till, CRM and booking systems. “Again, we wanted all our systems to be able to communicate seamlessly with each other. Compromising was not an option – it was going to be Apple all the way. Now we’re proud to run a custom-built Apple-based till system, and we’re thinking about the iPod touch to take orders in our coffee shop and restaurant”. muzyQ’s groundbreaking work with Apple products hasn’t gone unnoticed – already companies are visiting the Centre because they’re looking for a similar Apple infrastructure and want to see how it’s done.

Lemmers likes to refer to his Centre as a hotel for musicians. “It’s a place where musicians can come and book a room for as long as they like. We have single rooms for individuals who need a place to practise their trumpet for an hour once a week. Rock bands can hire a spacious room to store their equipment between gigs. Choirs can test their progress in one of our try-out auditoriums. And if in the middle of a session, anyone needs additional equipment or anything else, they can always call ‘room service’ to help them out”.

The muzyQ offering goes above and beyond your typical rehearsal studio. Lemmers continues: “We also provide office space, recording studios, post-production facilities, conference rooms, a coffee shop, a restaurant and a musical instruments shop. Just name a music-related product or service, and we’ll provide it”.