In October 2018, the Department of Music at The University of Alabama in Huntsville introduced a new, leading-edge technology that will change the way how students study music. The University of Alabama Huntsville, also known as UAH, has become the first United States university to connect two Internet-connected Yamaha Disklavier pianos - one in UAH and the other in Beijing, China. As a result, this will significantly enhance remote classes and distance learning opportunities for students in the near future.
In the first-ever connection of its kind, Dr Ka Man "Melody" Ng and the students performed on similar Yamaha Disklavier CFX pianos. Dr Ng guided the students in Roberts Recital Hall, UAH Campus remotely from Beijing. She played the Disklavier CFX piano, which was connected via the Internet to a similar instrument at UAH's campus. This allowed them to recreate the performance in real time, with the piano keys and pedals moving up and down on UAH's piano as it received digital instructions from half a world away. Thanks to the Internet connection, the students and Dr Ng were even able to have a conversation over video chat. As a result of this link, they could perform for one another, as if they were sitting on the same piano bench, right next to one another.
In another demonstration of the unique capabilities afforded by this new-generation piano, a recent graduate of UAH, Casey Rickles, played the piano with a teacher located more than a thousand miles away in Denver, Colorado. The connection was seamless and the keys were played in real time. This session was televised on WAFF 48 News, a news programme on WAFF-TV, a television station serving the Huntsville, Alabama area.
The Disklavier CFX piano was obtained in 2017 to celebrate the Department's 50th anniversary, as part of its commitment to enhance the university's remote learning opportunities. It also sets a new benchmark for music education all around the world. This is very much in line with the vision of UAH and the city of Huntsville, both of which aim to be at the leading edge of innovation.
The technology in the pianos allows data to be transmitted back and forth between identical Disklavier CFX pianos over the Internet as well as provide flawless synchronised video streaming between two locations. Therefore, if a pianist performs on a Disklavier CFX piano in one location, the remote Yamaha Disklavier CFX piano in a different location recreates the performance in real time, capturing the precise keystrokes and detailed pedal movements that are important in music performances.
The Disklavier CFX piano's technology connects music players with diverse cultures across the globe and enables global music education. With this remarkable technology, the University of Alabama in Huntsville will conduct intercontinental piano education and performances with two Internet-connected Disklavier pianos. They will enable students to receive training and guidance remotely from educators and top international pianists throughout the country and around the globe.
UAH can also recruit students from China, by having them record and transmit their audition performances over the Internet via Disklavier CFX piano. These virtual auditions will then be played and recorded on the remote Disklavier piano at UAH for assessment, with each note and nuance delivered accurately and precisely as the students executed.
The Yamaha Disklavier CFX will not only allow the University of Alabama in Huntsville to deliver high-quality programs in the arts to their students as well as the community, it will also revolutionise the music education with technology.