From left: Mike Meyer, Meyer Music/Chairman of the Board, Band of Angels; Paul Adams, KU MTNA Collegiate Chapter Vice President; Robert Walzel, Dean, School of Music, University of Kansas; Scott McBride Smith, Professor of Piano, University of Kansas; Will Maderos-Treaster, USD 430 Horton Elementary School Music Teacher; Jay Cross, District Manager, Yamaha Corporation of America. (Right Front, Seated): Chi-Kit Lam, KU MTNA Collegiate Chapter President.

Yamaha, Nonprofit Purchase Disklavier for Low-Income School

The University of Kansas School of Music took delivery this week of a new Yamaha Disklavier reproducing piano, which will be transported to a local elementary school, enabling students in need at a rural, low-income district to take part in remote music lessons.

The university, Yamaha Corp. of America and Band of Angels — whose chairman is Mike Meyer, manager of Meyer Music — a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization that provides musical opportunities for youngsters in need, partnered to purchase the new Disklavier.

The instrument will be placed in Horton Elementary School, located in Horton, Kansas, part of the South Brown County School District, which serves low-income families with 70 percent of the students under the poverty line.

Disklavier pianos are infused with networking capability that enables two or more instruments to be connected over the Internet, letting a pianist perform live in one location, while their exact keystrokes and pedal movements are transmitted in real time to the other instrument located anywhere else in the world.

"We wanted to give an opportunity to students who have not had the chance to take piano lessons to do so," explained Dr. Smith, the Cordelia Brown Murphy Professor of Piano Pedagogy at KU's School of Music. "With the remarkable technology of the Disklavier, members of our KU Music Teachers National Association Student Chapter will be able to remotely conduct piano lessons for young students without actually having to commute several hours back and forth to their schools.

"It's a win-win, since young people who likely wouldn't get the opportunity to learn the piano for various reasons will be getting lessons, and it enables MTNA student-members in our program to hone their teaching skills as well as to connect musically with the community."