PROVO, Utah (November 5, 2018) — On October 30, the Brigham Young University School of Music held a master class for students with the world-renowned pianist Frederic Chiu in New York City, nearly 2,200 miles away.
The university is among a growing number of pioneering schools nationwide to introduce its students to piano "Remote Lesson" technology. “Our School of Music aims to place itself at the forefront of technological advancement in music education and this master class is a wonderful step forward,” said Dr. Jared Pierce, BYU assistant professor of piano.
While conducting classes via video conference is quite common, it is a challenge to convey musical technique long distance. “The method of using Disklavier technology to connect two pianos simultaneously from across the world is a tremendous achievement,” Pierce said. “Student and teacher can enjoy a real-time conversation and share musically with one another as if they are in the same room, despite being thousands of miles away from each other.”
This is because the Disklavier can transmit specific performance data—the actual key strokes and gradations of pedal movement—between similarly equipped instruments simultaneously over the internet. The instructor is able to hear and see the student’s performance, and can advise remotely on pacing, dynamics, color control and other musical nuances.
In this case, while Chiu was at Yamaha Artist Services in Manhattan, four BYU students performed for him in Provo: Jennis Andelin playing Mozart Sonata K. 576, Nathan Schaumann playing Rachmaninoff Etude-tableau Op. 39 No. 9, Peter Blackham playing Chopin Sonata No. 2 Second Movement and Alice Hyoung playing Ravel La Valse. Chiu was able to listen, watch and respond by demonstrating on a Disklavier in New York that was connected to the Disklavier the student played, which was provided by Baldassin Pianos in Draper, Utah.
“Implementing this technology gives our piano students unprecedented access to working with master clinicians and performers without needing to travel across the country,” Pierce said. “We live in a fast-paced, technologically-driven world and it’s exciting to see how our time-honored teaching traditions are being infused with new life by the introduction of new technologies.”
“It was very gratifying to have been able to provide these students at BYU with this master class,” Chiu said. “My performance schedule requires that I frequently travel all over the world, so it is difficult for me to teach at all the universities I would like to. But being able to conduct classes remotely gives me much greater flexibility—it is a win-win for the students and the instructors alike.”
Chiu, a Yamaha Artist, has more than 25 highly acclaimed CDs on the market. He has toured in Europe and the U.S. and has performed in the world's most prestigious halls including Lincoln Center in New York and Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
To learn more about Yamaha Disklavier Remote Lesson technology, visit http://4wrd.it/YamahaRemoteLesson
About Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is a private, non-profit research university in Provo, Utah, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and run under the auspices of its Church Educational System. One of the lasting traditions of BYU is its strong cultural emphasis and support of the fine arts and its School of Music continues this tradition. Undergraduate students pursuing the piano performance degree at have access to a variety of specialized courses designed to ensure success in the professional world. The degree offers four years of intensive training in performance skills, piano pedagogy, collaborative performance and piano literature. Along with keyboard studies, students receive instruction in core classes such as music theory, history, ear training, large ensembles and conducting.