Last Semester, Southeast was chosen as a “Yamaha Institution of Excellence” and received new Yamaha pianos for student use. Dr. Kevin Hampton, Chair of the Department of Music, answered some questions about the distinction and the new pianos. Check out his answers below!

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Why did Southeast get these pianos?

These pianos help suffuse technology throughout our curriculum.  Many of the instruments in the department were 80+ years of age. Repairing them wasn’t an option because of the expense involved.

What separates these Yamaha pianos from other pianos?

Yamaha has been at the forefront of keyboard technology for many decades. Southeast Missouri State was the first institution to be recognized as a Yamaha Institution of Excellence, and we are in a select inaugural class of institutions to have this distinction.

What’s special about these Yamaha pianos?

Many of these instruments are hybrid: they have traditional keyboard mechanisms married to electronic produced sounds. There are no strings or wooden soundboard to be maintained.  These instruments are also Bluetooth compatible and have USB ports to which smart devices can be connected and used.

Which piano are you most excited for? Which piano(s) have you heard students are most excited for?

Personally, the Disklavier located in Shuck Recital Hall.  This instrument can literally communicate with another Disklavier anywhere in the world! We held a piano master class with Dr. Alan Huckleberry, University of Iowa, October 2020. Our students performed here on the River Campus and their performance was delivered in real time in Iowa City, Iowa.  Whenever Dr. Huckleberry demonstrated something on the piano there, our piano immediately duplicated his performance down to the key depth used and the movement of the pedals that control the dampers on the piano. We use this instrument in our weekly piano performance class. I have an app on my iPhone that controls the recording capabilities of the instrument. Each student’s performance is recorded and then analyzed, allowing the student to step away from the instrument and watch and hear their actual performance. They can examine key depth, tonal control, pedal usage for special effects; it’s truly amazing.

Where can students find these pianos? Who can use them?

These instruments are located on the River Campus in all buildings as well as in practice rooms in Brandt Hall.  They are available to current music majors.