JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some of the newest music technology in the country is in full play at The University of North Florida.
UNF's Department of Music is the site of the first lab in the country to feature the Yamaha Clavinova CVP500 series digital piano.
University of North Florida student Laura Urban found the keys to her happiness at the early age of 4.
"It's part of who I am. Music is everything to me," said Urban.
The music performance major admits that passion to play takes focus. Getting that focus has never been more exciting for the Music Performance major and her fellow classmates.
"I can't wait to come to class everyday and it's just so much fun," said Urban.
"It's tremendously exciting. The energy level from the minute the keyboards came in has been dynamic," said Dr. Erin Bennett, UNF Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy.
Dr. Bennett is proud to be teaching at the site of the first music lab with cutting edge digital piano technology.
"Someone can be the trumpet. Someone else can be the tuba and before you know it, I have a full brass quintet playing on the piano," said Bennett.
The instruments creating all the buzz are called Clavinovas. There's now a total of 25 at UNF, worth about $175,000 in total.
Dr. Bennett is able to use the equipment to teach up to 24 students at a time with the use of a microphone and headphones.
"Last semester our instruments were probably about 9 to 10 years old which in the world of digital technology is ancient," said Bennett.
Things have changed dramatically. There are hundreds more sound effects and instruments to work with.
The piano course has been revitalized with more students interested. It's all thanks to a partnership between the school, Yamaha, and local business Keyboard Connection.
"Our goal has always been education. If you have successful students, then certainly people will appreciate a finer piano," said Keyboard Connection owner Jack Melvin.
With big dreams of becoming a famous musician, a new way of learning will help Lauren be better educated and equipped to make that trek to the top.
"It'll be good for me," said Urban.
The new instruments at UNF are also getting attention from non-music majors. Dr. Bennett hopes to start classes for students in other majors at the school and eventually start one for anyone in the community who would like to learn to play.
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