Distance Learning

Columbus State U Holds Remote Master Class in Piano

The Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University held its first ever remote piano master class on October 10.

Undergraduate and graduate music students performed on the school's Yamaha Disklavier CFX concert grand piano located on the school's campus in Columbus, GA. Meanwhile, Boris Slutsky, chair of the Piano Department at Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Conservatory, evaluated the students' performances from Yamaha Artist Services in New York City.

Slutsky sat at a similarly equipped Disklavier and could watch and listen as the instrument replicated the students' "actual key strokes and subtle gradations of pedal movement" in real-time, according to a news release. He then evaluated each student's performance and demonstrated some of his corrections on the Disklavier in New York.

"Our students are now able to connect — via performances, lectures and masterclasses — with schools, colleagues and world-renowned pianists located anywhere in the world," said Alexander Kobrin, the L. Rexford Whiddon distinguished chair in piano and artist in residence at CSU, in a prepared statement.

The Yamaha Disklavier CFX is an acoustic grand piano featuring an optical sensor system that captures nuanced movements of the keys, hammers and pedals and transmits them to a remote Disklavier. The piano also features DSP servo technology that use the optical sensor data during playback to monitor and verify precision of movement in real-time to reproduce the remote performance, according to information on Yamaha's site.

Columbus State University supporter, Gail Greenblatt, gifted the piano to the Schwob School of Music in 2014. Since then the university has used the piano for numerous concerts. The event in October was the first of four planned master classes. Three subsequent remote lessons will be conducted by teaching artists on December 1, 2016; January 23, 2017; and March 27, 2016.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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