A. Loveday Edwards, T. Polymeneas-Liontiris

University College Falmouth (UNITED KINGDOM)
The challenging necessities for enhancing students’ learning experience have lead the successful development and rewarding accomplishment of numerous research projects globally. Currently, a number of institutions investigate within their field of specialization, developing ways to enhance and inform academic practices in particular subjects. Here in the Performance Centre of University College Falmouth (UCF), research projects focus particularly on practices that would enrich the learning experience of Performance students. Additionally, the ever-increasing interest from both educational institutions and commercial industries in establishing stronger relationships with each other have proven beneficial for the development of projects that would support research, collaborations and entrepreneurial initiatives. UCF and particularly the Performance Centre holds a strong partnership with Yamaha UK and Yamaha Europe, resulting in the emergence of a number of research projects. This research paper focuses on the outcomes of this partnership, detailing in particular a number of educational and performance applications that have materialised from the use of the latest generations of Yamaha’s Disklaviers.
Despite the fact that Disklaviers were primarily developed as instruments to be used for (public) entertainment, later applications of such instruments in music education and performance practices have manifested their very beneficial pedagogic value. Currently, at the Performance Centre in UCF Yamaha Disklaviers are used in research projects that engage the students and aid in the development of their technical dexterities and aesthetics. Such processes imply the application of learning-by-doing or experiential learning methodologies in the educational process. Undercurrent developments in the technologic implementations of the latest generations of Disklaviers facilitate synchronous on-line methodologies for piano learning and music making. Such functions are proven to be exceptionally beneficial for linking educational institutions on a global scale, providing the students with invaluable learning experiences. The Remote-Learning function of the latest Mark-IV Disklavier is one of the e-learning tools that expand the limits and challenges paradigmatic approaches of traditional music learning.
Moreover, this particular configuration provides possibilities in the development of remote piano performances. Presently, at UCF a very challenging research project is taking place, involving the link-up of four different Disklaviers around the world for the online remote-performance of a music composition made particularly for that event. Such network performance would be the first of its kind, as one pianist would perform simultaneously with four pianos situated in four remote locations around the world.
Thus, this paper aims to illustrate the potentials of Disklavier as a multipurpose instrument and its educational role in Creative Higher Education. It demonstrates how its multifunctional applications are proven to support and enhance students’ learning and teaching experience. Providing innovative e-learning functions, real-time remote-learning applications and challenging networked performances. It illustrates the fruitful collaboration between UCF and Yamaha and provides evidence of how such collaboration has proven to be beneficial for the development of students’ professional practices.