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WC joins first consortium for high-tech pianos

Spirio-r piano photo

Weatherford College and Wayland Baptist University have announced a groundbreaking collaboration involving Steinway & Sons and the innovative Spirio | r high-resolution player piano capable of live performance capture and playback.

The two institutions will join with Arlington Independent School District, Lubbock ISD and the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences to create the first consortium of its kind in the world.

The Steinway Spirio | r provides powerful new tools of expression and new ways to access, share and experience performance. The consortium will link students from high school to college via coordinated distance piano education allowing real-time sharing of live performances, one-on-one lessons and group masterclasses between remote locations.

Steinway & Sons CEO Ron Losby said the consortium will serve as a beta test group to be replicated with other groups around the globe.

“Our collaboration with Wayland, Weatherford College, the Arlington and Lubbock school districts and The Buddy Holly Hall will set an example for the world that this new pedagogy has global implications,” Losby said. “We will work with them as they visualize and explore the best pedagogical use of this technology in diverse educational settings.”

WC became an All-Steinway Institution last November, raising more than $400,000 from privately-funded donations to the WC Foundation in less than one year.

Steinway Spirio-r piano“The Spirio | r beta test group of educational institutions, the first such group in the world, puts Texas on the cutting edge of technology,” said Dr. Tod Allen Farmer, WC president. “That is precisely where we should be in the Information Age. Weatherford College is very proud to partner with these fine organizations as we collectively create new knowledge.”

Dr. Bobby Hall, Wayland president, echoed those sentiments.

“Wayland has been providing real, meaningful college classes in numerous academic disciplines online since 1997,” Hall said. “We are excited to be part of this next generation of distance music education. Under the leadership of our visionary music faculty, we will cultivate fresh, distance partnerships while refining the curricular impact of the Spirio | r. In doing so, this will greatly increase our capacity to provide high-quality piano instruction for those in urban, low socioeconomic and remote locations.”

WC’s Dr. Hyeyoung Song, master pianist, and Fredrick Sanders, newly-hired director of jazz studies will work with the consortium to create opportunities for WC students to make the most of the consortium.

For information on the Fine Arts Department at Weatherford College, visit www.wc.edu/academics/fine-arts. To learn more about the Spirio | r, visit www.steinway.com/spirio/spirio-r.

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