Students can now tickle the ivories in new locations around campus after three digital pianos were placed in Wold House, Beuth House and the Women’s Lounge in Reamer Campus Center on Tuesday evening. Dean of Students Steve Leavitt says a fourth digital piano will be placed in Garnet Commons, the new upperclass apartment building, when it opens in the fall.
All students have access to the Minerva Houses and Reamer Women’s Lounge where the Roland HP504 digital pianos were placed, according to Leavitt.
Jen Ventrella ’16 suggested adding a few more pianos around campus because, she said, “It’s not that there had to be more private practice spaces, because, to my understanding, there weren’t any to begin with for students who didn’t pay for lessons. It’s a liberal arts school and all students should have equal access to pursue multiple interests.”
Administrative leadership said Ventrella told President Stephen C. Ainlay and other members of the administration that she would be interested in seeing more public practice space at Union, which got the ball rolling on ordering the new pianos.
Leavitt believes that, “Piano players need regular practice, and these pianos, with headphones, can make that easy. In my view, you can never have too many pianos around campus.”
The pianos come equipped with several technological features, according to Roland’s website, including a headphone jack, a USB port for exporting recordings of songs a user has played and a wireless connection to iPads. The wireless connection allows users of the pianos to generate additional sounds on the pianos and “play along with favorite songs,” among other features, through Roland’s “Piano Partner” and “Air Performer” iPad apps.
Leavitt wants to thank Ventrella and other students for bringing the need for more pianos to the administration’s attention. He continued, “I think it’s great to encourage students to play whenever they can.”
Chief of Staff Robert D. Kelly stated, “President Ainlay supported this initiative after hearing of the interest from students. The pianos are a great reminder of the student-centered nature of Union.”
Leavitt said each piano cost about $2,000.