Two new piano labs at Partnership Middle School and Starkville High School will create excellent, new collaborative learning experiences in music education for students in the Starkville Oktibbeha School District.
The Board of Trustees accepted a $10,000 donation from the Starkville MSU Symphony Association via the MSU Foundation to fund a piano lab at Partnership Middle School. The piano lab includes 15 keyboards to facilitate small group instruction for up to 30 students.
The Board also agreed to purchase a piano lab for Starkville High School in the amount of $17,985. The piano lab at SHS will include 16 full-sized keyboards along with a headset for each keyboard that allows the teacher to connect and instruct students individually or as a group.
The lab at SHS will be purchased with combination of funds from SHS and the SHS choral music program. Travel funds for the choral music program were reallocated for equipment after the choir was unable to travel due to Covid-19.
"We are extremely grateful for a school district and greater school community that financially support and invest in the arts to create excellent opportunities for music instruction for our students," said Jennifer Davis, Director of Choral Music. "The ability to read piano music and play piano music is foundational for students who choose to pursue music as a vocation or avocation. It's also essential to our continued growth and success as an excellent music program."
A third, smaller piano lab has already been implemented as part of the general music class at Armstrong Jr. High.
With the financial investment from Starkville High School and the financial gift for Partnership Middle School, students can benefit from piano instruction in grades 6-12.
"We are very excited to partner with the Starkville Oktibbeha School District to create the Partnership Middle School Piano Lab, which will allow any 6 - 7th grader to learn to play the piano," said Haley Montgomery, President of the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association. "The Symphony has sought to promote an interest in classical and symphonic music through on-going education initiatives since 1969, and as we enter our 53rd year of fostering community grown music, there's no greater joy than to help Yellow Jacket middle schoolers begin their journey as musicians."
"The creation of piano labs at each of our secondary schools directly reflects our school district's commitment to expand student opportunities in the arts and to enhance resources within arts courses," said Supt. Eddie Peasant. "I share our community's passion for arts in education, and I am incredibly excited about the opportunity these piano labs offer our students to pursue their passion, purpose and potential through music education."
About Piano Labs:
Piano labs offer a collaborative learning experience to students with instant feedback from their teacher to help students learn up to 60% faster than through a traditional lesson. The technology of a piano lab also allows music teachers to maximize their students' lessons time with whole-group, small-group and individual activities. Teachers can also connect smart phones, tablets, computers, etc. to provide "live" play-a-long experiences or to record individual lectures and/or student performances.