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Piano Florida State University Piano Technology

Piano Technology at

Florida State Univerity FSU

This is a terrific series about Piano Technology at Florida State University ( F S U ) a comprehensive public University containing it’s own College of Music in Tallahassee Florida U S A.

Anne Garee is the current Program Director, Piano Technology Department Head College of Music Florida State University Tallahassee Florida U S A . http://music.fsu.edu/garee.htm

The following Florida State University Piano Technology thread was started December 2006 to February 2008.

FSU Piano Technology Program Director Anne Garee begins by saying –

This piano was on its side for many years waiting patiently for it’s moment and the moment was fall semester 2006.

Anne felt it was a good candidate and very interesting journey. It had served in the College of Music actually since it was purchased in 1954.

Each project is totally unique and presents its own specific challenges which makes it a very interesting journey.

(Anne continuing)

My mother was a pianist and a professional musician. She was a theory professor at Oberlin Conservatory before she married my physicist father.

My father the physicist, my mother the musician is actually a synthesis of what I do now. It is really the unique combination that we bring to piano technology and was fortunate to have these two forces in my life. they were so supportive in choices we made in career path because obviously you don’t grow up to be a piano technician. Those of us in this field typically come to it by accident and sort of fall into it.

In the field there is a real shortage of training opportunities. Typically people get their information in a very patchwork fashion, um, a bit like here and a bit there and it was always my dream to provide some, a cottified way to accelerate peoples training so that they didn’t have the circuitous route than most of us have taken and because of the comprehensive nature of our music school and the breadth of the program material it was an ideal setting for a program such as this.

Jennifer Roberts

(Jennifer Roberts is a graduate student in the Florida State University FSU College of Music, Piano Technology program) said

I heard about the program when I was studying in Canada. I did my primary training at the University of Western Ontario and we were all looking for options after we left, we either worked in our own business or we worked for somebody else and I heard about this program down here as being really structured and intensive training program.

Amy Porter

(Amy Porter isa Graduate Student at the Florida State university (FSU) College of Music, Piano Technology) continues saying

It’s very much like a job. We are graduate assistants here in the College of Music and so we have (both Jenifer and myself) um, look after about fifty pianos, each year, each semester, we run through our list of instruments, um, some are in practice rooms, some are in faculty studios, halls, um, we have our own assignments that we look after and as well as tuning a harpsicord on a weekly basis.

Jennifer said

One thing that I found particularly challenging on this piano was the fact ,uh, that it had a lot of problems straight from the factory, so when it came to us it had a lot of geometrical flaws, and in that sense it’s been a great piano to learn the restoration process.

(alternating), Amy said

We brought it in the shop and got to play on it. It was terribly out of tune it was very heavy (the touch was very heavy.)


The first thing we noticed was that the action was extremely heavy. It was hard to play. If you think of a teeter-totter you know – the hammers on one end and the keys on the other and, you know, you want a certain relationship between these two in order for it to perform properly, it’s going to be, i f you have to much weight on one side it’s going to be not pleasant to push on the other.

The pin block

The pin block is quite a thick piece of wood at the front of the grand piano and it is what the tuning pins are embedded into. It is the secure anchor.

The strings were rusty and quite decrepit.

The bridge needed some restoration, the soundboard was pretty ugly, the plate needed refinishing.

One thing that we spent a lot of time on was the lettering of the plate. It’s a part that some people just use a marker to paint them we actually decided to use some black lacquer and a paint brush and do it the old fashion way.

Anne finishes up saying-

The ultimate goal is of course that they are confident that they can go anywhere.

The world needs wonderful piano technicians, The piano is a cornerstone instrument. There are not enough people doing it well.


There are a lot of opportunities hat have come other from the contacts I have made through this program. I would like to be able to work in a University to have the access to talented faculty members and to be able to work with students.


The program has really taken me to a different level of technical ability and I’m hoping that will open a few more doors, more opportunities to practice my craft.


As often as I can I like to play and keep my fingers moving and remember why I’m restoring pianos in the first place.







Washington DC Kennedy Center Sets the Stage for Learning

A video tour for kids

In Washington DC Associate Conductor Emil de Cou on tour said the Kennedy Center is a living memorial to John F Kennedy. When I say Memorial I mean the Kennedy Center is more than just a building. It’s a place for dance, plays, where concerts happen everyday. When people come for a performance they help bring the memorial to life.

I hear you can come see us perform at the concert hall. Let me show you around

This is the Kennedy Center Plaza. It’s filled with art work, reflecting pools and fountains, and on the day you’re going to visit us school buses too!

There’s a whole lot more to see inside …lets go!

The first thing you should know about the Kennedy Center is that it’s a real big place. This is the Hall of Nations. It got its name from all the international flags hanging above my head. See how many you can pick out. Over there is the stage door. That’s where the musicians and I go to work but it’s off limits to most people

That’s the Grand Foyer lets go check it out. What’s a foyer you ask, just a fancy name for a lobby. This is the grand foyer because it’s the entry way to the Kennedy Centers three largest performing halls- the Eisenhower Theater, the Opera House and the Concert Hall. This foyer is so long that the Washington Monument can lie on its side and there would still be room for a herd of cows. But enough about the grand foyer, lets go inside the concert hall, that’s my favorite part.

Oh yeah, when you come here with your school, the teacher will meet an usher and they will show you to your seat. But when you come here with your family the usher will take your ticket and put it right here in this box.

This is the concert hall, it’s an amazing place isn’t it? Over 2400 people can watch a performance from here, that’s like thirty five buses filled with kids and 45 baseball teams plus another sixty families of four. No matter what seat you get on any of the concert halls four levels, you’ll have a great view of the performers on stage. Lets walk down to the stage and I’ll point out some more interesting features

The scene on concert day will be different from what you see now. The musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra will be in those empty chairs on stage and you, along with a couple thousand other people will be part of our audience.

Behind those walls over there is the conductors dressing room and the musicians lounge but that whole area back there is off limits to the public. The stage I’m sitting on is made of wood like those hi-tech panels that are hanging above me and the floor beneath all the seats and the seat backs. The wood through out the concert hall helps the music travel to each seat as the musicians play their instruments, the sound they create bounces off the wood and is sent toward the listener.

Other materials could have been chosen like carpet or metal. Carpet, however, absorbs to much sound and metal makes the sound bounce to much. The natural properties of wood absorb a small amount of sound and send just the right amount toward the listener.

You probably noticed those pipes on the wall behind me. They’re part of a very large organ that is played at some of the concerts here.There are over four thousand pipes, some as small as your pinky, others as large as a telephone pole.

Whelp, that about wraps it up. I’m sorry I couldn’t show you everything but there are rules. On behalf of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center I look forward to seeing you at our concerts

Your not gone yet are you? If we hurry we can take a look at some of the places most people never get to see, so here we are now at the backstage area of the concert hall. Over there is where the musicians hang out and this over here is my dressing room, you can study, play piano or even take a nap.

O k, I think the coast is clear, this way ! Right before the concert begins I stand here ready to walk on stage, the door opens and I join the musicians on stage to thunderous applauses (we like that part) And here I am on the podium in front of thousands of concert goers, I bow to the audience then I turn to the musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra and we all share in the applause. It’s really fun, then I go to work. It’s really fun conducting that is, It’s important for me to show energy and excitement when I’m conducting the orchestra. They’ll know just how to play the music

Well I guess we better stop here and I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the Kennedy Center and don’t tell anyone we’ve been sneaking around the concert hall. I’ll see you at the concert

for more information or to learn how you can help contact


The Education Department of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington DC





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