Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Volunteers needed for test-run of new digital piano lab at Vermilion Country School

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TOWER- Ever wondered what it would be like to take those piano lessons you never had as a child? Vermilion Country School is looking for as many as nine area adults interested in doing a test run of the school’s new digital piano lab.
A one-hour group lesson will be offered on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 1 – 2 p.m. No experience is necessary, but players from beginners to advanced are welcome. Please call the school office at 218-753-1246 to reserve your spot.
The digital pianos are played like a traditional piano, but the player wears headphones to listen to their piano. The class instructor can listen to individual players, or the group as a whole. The pianos can also be played without the headphones, and sound like a traditional piano.
The school is also looking for piano teachers who might be interested in using the piano lab during after-school hours for lessons. The pianos will be used during the school day for the school’s music program. The piano lab area also has a wall-mounted computer monitor, that can be used for teaching music.
The pianos were purchased with a Blandin Broadband grant and take advantage of the school’s new broadband-speed wireless internet network.
“Music is the gateway to brain power,” said Karin Schmidt, who teaches language arts and music at VCS. “I want to get all our kids playing.”
Schmidt noted that many area schools have been cutting their music programs, but at VCS there are plans to get all students involved in music either through choir or music lessons.
“This is a high-tech solution for our kids and teachers,” she said.
VCS has offered music lessons on a one-to-one basis on piano and other instruments, as well as offering group lessons using online teachers from the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. The VCS Choir program participates in the state high school league choir contest as well as the Boundary Waters Music Festival program.
Schmidtʼs goal is to have all VCS students learning to play the piano and to read music.
“Kids need to learn the universal language of music,” she said.
Schmidt noted that there are great resources for teaching music available online, and that students are very adept at finding the resources they need to learn the music that interests them.
School administrator Frank Zobitz said the pianos can also be connected to the new computers in the computer lab, which means students could record their own music, and produce podcasts and videos.

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