This fall, music students on Cairn’s campus are learning piano like never before. Thanks to the vision of generous supporters of the School of Music, a keyboard lab including nine Yamaha Clavinova CVP-705 digital pianos was installed in Summer 2017. Combining the sound and keyboard action of an acoustic piano with the freedom and fun of a digital keyboard, the Clavinovas provide new instructional possibilities for students of all ages and skill levels. Using headphones and a wireless iPad connection, instructors of group piano classes can move freely around the classroom, isolate individual keyboards for personalized feedback, and facilitate multiple duet or group performances simultaneously.
With thousands of instrument voices and hundreds of accompaniment patterns from around the world, Cairn students also have unprecedented access to tools for songwriting and composition. Music education majors have access to the latest cutting-edge instructional technology, as well as the mentorship of School of Music faculty who are professionally trained to fully harness the capabilities of the Yamaha platform.
The benefits of this new technology bless the local community as well. Whether participating in the Cairn Community Arts Academy or Cairn’s music program for students with special needs, children are having fun with the technology, which increases both engagement and learning.
The funding of the keyboard lab was inspired by the life of Mrs. Loraine Bemiss (1925–2016), a gifted pianist, lifelong choir member, and music teacher in her early married life. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Mrs. Bemiss was a beloved member of a large and very musical extended family, including one Cairn student. Because music has always been an important part of the Bemiss family’s life and worship, her family believed that Mrs. Bemiss would have been thrilled to provide this resource for students to begin and further their piano education. In addition to funding for the Clavinova lab, the family of Mrs. Bemiss has also honored her memory by providing scholarships for students in Cairn’s School of Music.