Photo and story by Angele Latham / Contributing Writer
MTSU’s School of Music had quite the show Sunday in the form of the Steinway Piano Sale, hosted in the Wright Music Building.
Students, faculty and the public were invited to browse the Steinway inventory that included new and used Steinway & Sons, Essex and Boston pianos, as well as Roland digitals and other used inventory. Profits from the sale benefited the school’s piano maintenance fund, thanks to MTSU’s status as Tennessee’s first All-Steinway school.
Fewer than 200 schools in the United States are labeled “All-Steinway schools,” and MTSU has been an All-Steinway school since 2002.
Indeed, the level quality at the sale was obvious: rows of pristinely polished ebony pianos lined the music hall, each with their unique attributes on display to impress the viewer. This presented a unique opportunity for students to study the craftsmanship involved in the making of such expensive instruments.
“Steinway pianos are exceptional instruments and are performed in concert venues, music series and top music schools across the globe,” said Arunesh Nadgir, the coordinator of Keyboard Studies at MTSU. “The tone, sound quality and the touch of Steinway pianos (are) unparalleled. Because MTSU is an All-Steinway School, it means that our students have access to these wonderful instruments. The students themselves use them every day in the MTSU practice rooms and in our music hall. And with hundreds of guest artists, faculty and student recitals presented every year at the School of Music, students can hear these pianos being performed by others as well.”
The sale was also an opportunity to showcase one of Steinway’s most cutting-edge pianos: the Steinway Spirio, a high-resolution player piano that poses to be a breakthrough in piano education. While the Spirio remains a fully-functioning classical piano, it also boasts a modern edge: a tablet built seamlessly into the lines of the piano that hosts over 3,000 videos and audio recordings of famous pianists. These recordings, both modern and classical, allow piano students to witness the actual notes being played on the keyboard in front of them while also watching the video on the tablet. This creates a bridge between students and masters and allows for real-time instruction from sources otherwise out of reach.
“We’re excited to see what this translates to for the schools,” said Robert Klingbeil, the director of Institutional Sales for the Nashville Steinway Gallery. “This kind of technology is something that’s becoming more relevant in the context of the school. We’re expecting a lot of colleges and universities to make that investment.”
Klingbeil is deeply invested in the inclusion of quality instruments in universities, and the impact this has on a student’s musical education.
“The way we look at this is: (Steinways) being a handmade instrument, it takes a year to build,” Klingbeil said. “And you know there are certainly less expensive options for pianos out there, but schools invest in these to give students the best possible equipment with which to work.”
This sentiment was shared by Brandon Herrenbruck of the Nashville Steinway Gallery.
“Schools take pride in providing the best equipment for their students to learn on – whether that’s football, down to pianos, microscopes and everything else,” Herrenbruck said. “So it’s an alignment of the excellence of our product to the excellence of what they’re trying to provide for their students.”
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