One of the best parts about my job here at Kawai is that I frequently get to talk to teachers about the evolution of music education and how they incorporate the use of today’s technological tools into traditional teaching methods. The invention of digital pianos with headphones has been a godsend to the teachers of group piano classes. When I was studying piano in college, I remember walking by a classroom hearing what sounded like 20 students, each seated at an upright piano simultaneously playing “Twinkle Twinkle”. The tempos were all over the place, every beat had clunker notes… it was awful to say the least. I poked my head inside the room just to see what the heck was going on, and sure enough there was my piano instructor teaching a beginning piano class. It was at that point, I decided a teaching career probably wasn’t for me!
Thankfully teachers today have access to digital pianos and Digital Piano Lab Controllers to save themselves, and passersby, from the cacophony of sound that I experienced many years ago. One of Kawai’s newest educational tools designed specifically for the setting I described above is the Kawai Lab Controller System, or KLCS for short. For those not familiar with one, a lab controller is a communication system that allows a teacher to listen and interact with students using digital pianos, headsets, and microphones. The teacher can monitor a student’s practice, give feedback, and receive and respond to questions from students. And the beauty of a lab controller is that it’s virtually silent to nosey piano majors passing by in the hall.
The other great thing about the Kawai Digital Piano Lab is that nearly all our digital pianos have USB connections. By hooking up computers to the instruments (the teacher’s or students’) ,applications such as music theory, ear-training, fingering and hand position, note recognition, musical examples, composition and arranging, can be integrated into the lesson plan. The KLCS works in conjunction with all these devices allowing for multiple students to learn simultaneously in the same space. During class instruction, the teacher can work with the students individually, or in pairs, small groups, or the entire class at once all while seated at their own instrument.
A basic KLCS setup will accommodate the teacher and 8 students. Expansion of the system to include additional students is made easy, not to mention cost effective, by its modular design. Student stations can be added in multiples of 8, up to a maximum of 48 students. (Imagine teaching 48 students in an acoustic environment!) But if that wasn’t enough, on many Kawai digital piano models there is a function which allows two students to learn at one keyboard. In this way the 8-student setup will serve 16 students, and the 48 student setup could accommodate… YIKES! 96 students!!!
The KLCS is truly an amazing educational tool with many features that I will discuss in follow-up blogs. Stay tuned!
— Cory Callies – Director of Institutional Relations