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Catawba says bravo to new keyboard lab

Faculty and staff in Catawba College’s Music Department are still celebrating a new Yamaha keyboard laboratory recently installed by department members in Hoke Hall.
The lab ó which includes a teacher station, audio hardware, lab peripherals and software, plus 16 student stations ó will further integrate technology into the music curriculum. It also allows the department to meet re-accreditation standards established by the North Carolina Association of Teacher Education and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
The Yamaha keyboard laboratory replaces a Baldwin keyboard lab purchased by the college more than 20 years ago. The Baldwin lab, which is still in good condition but lacking in the technology upgrades made during that 20-year period, is still being used as student-teaching instruments and as practice instruments for students.
Dr. David Fish, associate professor music at Catawba, said he and his colleagues awaited the arrival of the new Yamaha lab “like kids waiting on the Wells Fargo wagon.”
Having the new keyboards, he said, “will greatly facilitate the learning process for all of our students given the wonderful capabilities of the instruments we’ve purchased.”
Dr. Renee McCachren, chair of the Catawba Music Department, said, “The new lab certainly enhances the educational experience we can provide for students. It also provides the resources to enable the music faculty to share their experience and training with the music community of Salisbury-Rowan and beyond by providing workshops and professional development opportunities.”
McCachren said the Yamaha keyboard lab initiates Catawba’s partnership with an internationally-recognized company, moving the College toward its status as a Uniquely Yamaha school. In addition to the obvious resources and services, this relationship between Yamaha and Catawba will also provide opportunities for offering music seminars and workshops, and extend to the college opportunities to host world-class Yamaha artists on campus.
Dr. Julie Chamberlain, associate professor of music and director of Catawba’s Community Music program, is more than pleased with the lab.
“Having taught nearly 20 years on the Baldwin keyboards,” she said, “I cannot sufficiently express my elation and excitement about the possibilities that are now available with the new Yamaha lab for both me as an instructor and for my students.”
“Pedagogically, the updated piano lab broadens curricular options and enhancements and offers limitless creative and musical opportunities for students. We now have the ability to expand our current course opportunities to include more innovative classes that focus on improvisation, collaborative playing, composition, and contemporary popular stylistic practices.”

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