In April 2021, students at the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music
played in a masterclass for piano faculty members of Brigham Young University. Facilitated by Disklavier's Remote Lesson feature, all participants played Internet-connected Disklavier ENSPIRE pianos from their own campuses, creating an authentic experience in full observance of current travel restrictions and Covid-19 guidelines.
Adding to the growing list of international long-distance masterclasses conducted via Disklavier Remote Lesson, this event served as a stand-in for BYU’s more typical Spring faculty outreach tours, when many faculty members visit Chinese conservatory campuses. In this event, held on the evening of April 8 in Utah / morning of april 9 in China, the conservatory students played for Dr. Jihea Hong-Park, Dr. Jared Pierce, Dr. Stephen Beus, or Division Coordinator Dr. Scott Holden.
As with all Disklavier Remote Lessons, the keys and pedals responded in each location as they were played at the other end of the connection, eliminating the limitations of more commonly used distance learning platforms that deliver audio with unpredictable quality.
Disklavier technology is not new to the Brigham Young music department, which was among the first to embrace Disklavier pianos for practice, composition, and multimedia performances in the early 2000s. In 2017 BYU pianists even collaborated with the campus’ Museum of Contemporary Art
to incorporate Disklavier performances with an exhibit featuring works by M. C. Escher.
More recently, the school has acquired two DS7X ENSPIRE PRO
Disklavier pianos, premium 7'6" instruments that are ideally suited for conservatory studios recital halls.
In addition to their everyday function as artist-level teaching instruments, these pianos have already been used to host several Remote Lesson-based events, including masterclasses with Frederic Chiu
(Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford), Per Danielsson
(University of Central Florida), and artist Spencer Myer (New York City)
For the connection with Zhejiang, already facile with the basics of connecting pianos, the BYU staff enhanced the experience even further, incorporating more sophisticated broadcasting software to control video, and using the audio management available through Remote Lesson’s automatic microphone muting features.
Remote Lesson was first offered as an experimental feature for the Disklavier Mark IV in 2007 and has since become increasingly common as a reliable way for institutions to participate in high-resolution connections for up to four instruments anywhere in the world. Remote Lesson is supported for academic use at select institutions worldwide. Please contact your regional Yamaha representative to inquire about participation.
Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (ZJCM) offers a wide range of music and arts teaching for nearly 3000 talented students from China and beyond. Programmes range widely from composition, conducting, vocal, various instruments, to music technology, drama studies, and dance performance. ZJCM houses 12 academic departments and 4 professional performing ensembles on its 100-acre picturesque campus in the city of Hangzhou.
Chinese-language coverage of this event is also available via WeChat News
(photos: Brigham Young University)