– With the dual acquisition of the nation’s largest Yamaha Clavinova digital piano laboratory and the placement of a DCFX Disklavier performance-reproducing concert grand piano, Millersville University of Pennsylvania has positioned itself as a premier center for high tech music education and performance for the 21st
These technologies were recently unveiled at the school’s newly renovated Charles R. and Anita B. Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center, which additionally features state-of-the-art stage craft, lighting and music production technologies. After more than two years of renovations, the 84,000-square-foot center opened its doors just in time to welcome students back for the start of the fall 2012 semester.
According to Laura Kendall, Director of the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center, the installation of the new, 41-unit Clavinova digital piano lab is already having a huge impact on the school’s diverse student base, particularly its Music-Business-Technology Track students.
“The Clavinova’s multipurpose platform provides traditional piano instruction, multi-track sequencing and Internet connectivity,” said Kendall. “While elements of the new pianos replace traditional classroom pianos, they offer our students unprecedented access to 21st
-century teaching methods and materials, as well as the ability to interface with music production software.”
Kendall, who joined Millersville in 2012, was extremely excited to see the university expand its technological capabilities, and consequently, offer enhanced learning experiences for its students. “It’s inspiring to see the university’s forethought in envisioning such remarkable learning opportunities for its students. It’s thrilling to see the new center become a dynamic expression of that vision.”
With the placement of the Yamaha DCFX, Yamaha’s Disklavier RemoteLive technology enables a pianist to perform in one location and have his or her exact keystrokes and pedal movements transmitted live, and in real time, to other networked Disklavier pianos anywhere in the world. Combining perfectly synchronized video and audio plus MIDI broadcast from a single location to multiple locations, RemoteLive is redefining the way piano performance and education is shared and experienced.
The Disklavier is a special acoustic piano fitted with a sophisticated system of sensors that record every aspect of a performance, including pitch, dynamics, phrasing and pedaling. The performance information can be stored on a hard drive and recalled for a later performance. The latest model of Disklaviers can be connected to one another via the Internet. Once connected, the performance information can be transmitted from one instrument to the others – and be immediately reproduced with perfect precision, even on the other side of the globe.
This technology was put to dramatic effect on October 12, when renowned concert pianist Alexander Kobrin conducted a highly successful master class with Millersville students at the Winter Center – while the artist himself was situated at an Internet-connected Yamaha Disklavier at Yamaha’s piano salon in Manhattan.
“Millersville music students will enjoy the Disklavier’s numerous performance and practice benefits, including its recording and playback capabilities, as well as accompaniment features that can even simulate a live orchestra,” remarked Kendall.
The Music Department at Millersville University additionally maintains a Disklavier at its downtown Lancaster performance location, The Ware Center.
According to Walt Straiton, of Yamaha’s Institutional Solutions Group – and a Millersville alumnus – the notion of a placement began with a dialogue at the National Association of Schools of Music Conference in Boston and continued with a series of meetings and site visits to ascertain the institution’s specific needs. Working in concert with Gordy Martin of Menchey Music, located in Hanover, Penn, the placement came to fruition in the early fall of 2012.
“As a Millersville graduate, it’s particularly gratifying to be part of such a meaningful project,” said Straiton. “These instruments will have a profound impact on how music is taught and learned at Millersville.”
For Kendall, this acquisition ties into a larger educational theme that surpasses music alone. “We live in an increasingly global society, so it makes perfect sense for us to make use of these tools. We are in a very special place, quite beautiful and rural but within driving distance to big American cities. With the help of these instruments, we can connect internationally and bring the world to Millersville. The possibilities are endless for our students.”