Problems to WATCH OUT for when Designing / Installing a Class Piano Lab

Here are some common problems you should watch out for when you are in the beginning stages of planning for a Class Piano Lab:

Money is always an issue. Consequently, you want to end up with a Lab that is first and foremost COST EFFECTIVE but at the same time is:

- easy to install
- easy to maintain
- easy to use

Also, you want the Lab to be a true learning TOOL for your students and not just an entertainment center.

EASY TO INSTALL means that the Lab equipment does not require any unusual gear such audio mixers, amplifiers, etc. Modern Piano Labs are elegantly simple and specialized devices which are "plug and play" :

- set up the keyboards
- run audio cables to the teacher controller
- press ONE button to listen/communicate

Do not under any circumstances let your local music store which specializes in selling guitars, drums, audio gear, etc. try to talk you into patching together a system consisting of a an audio mixing board such as would be used for recordings or concerts. The Class Piano Lab is SPECIALIZED equipment specifically designed for one purpose: education

EASY TO MAINTAIN means that the equipment is TRUST WORTHY and will work well for a long time (years) under heavy use by students with various abilities. Standard professional line digital pianos should have a useful life of at least ten years under normal use (not abused). Headphones will no doubt have to be replaced occasionally. But, the Lab components should work for years with little or no maintenance.

Non-professional keyboards such as the ones you see at Walmart, K-Mart, or Target are nothing more than toys and absolutely will not hold up under heavy use. What at first may seem like an easy solution to saving money will certainly end up costing more money in the long run. You should ONLY consider standard digital pianos (standard size keys, standard height, etc.) when designing your Class Piano Lab.

EASY TO USE means that the teacher control unit is elegantly simple such that it is IMMEDIATELY APPARANT to the non-technical instructor how use the device. The teacher controller should not look like the control panel of a 747 jet liner but should be visually organized such that anyone can immediately see how to select an individual student for communication.

Common Problems which you may encounter:

1. Size of the room. The most imporant thing for you to do UPFRONT in considering a Class Piano Lab is to MEASURE the size of the room in which you intend to put the system. The consultant should REQUIRE an exact measurement from you before the purchase is finalized. Otherwise, you may discover when the equipment arrives that it will not fit into the space you intend (BIG problem). See Class Piano Room Setups.

2. Headphone replacement. All the standard Class Piano Lab systems come with headphones with microphones attached. With constant use, you cannot expect headphones to last more than about 6 months before they develop problems such as only one side working. Replacing headphones is expensive, usually about $80.00 per set. It is possible to purchase cheaper headphones like the ones that are used now with comptuers. However, you have to make sure that the OHM rating of the headhones match the sepcifications of the manufacturer or they may not work, particularly the microphone. A general rule of thumb is to order an extra set of headphones for EACH workstation so that you will have extra sets on hand while you replace the ones that are broken.

3. Headphone box replacement. All the standard Class Piano Lab systems also come with a conferencing system which requires individual student headphone boxes. These boxes are generally very sturdy and should last the lifetime of the lab. However, occasionally one will go bad and have to be replaced. Consequently, it is a good idea to order a couple extra boxes so that you will have them on hand in the event that one needs to be replaced.

4. Warranty work on the conferencing system or the keyboards. In the unlikely event that a keyboard or the conferencing system needs to be serviced, it should be done by a qualified (authorized) repair center. Both Roland and Yamaha have authorized repair centers in every large metropolitan area and they are REQUIRED by the companies to do do warranty work, whether or not you purchased the equipment there. There are also some independent autuorized repair personal who work independently of local music stores.

Standard warranties are usually one year from the date of purchase.  Although, some restrictions may apply regarding a "limed warranty."

Here is a link to Roland's authorized repair centers.

Here is a link to Yamaha's authorized repair centers. Also check out the Yamaha Service and Support page.

If there is not an authorized repair center within a reasonable distance from your school or organization, you may have to ship the product to the repair center for service. Consequently, it is generally good advice to keep at least ONE BOX or container in which the keybaord or conferencing system was shipped to you in the unlikely event that you have to ship the product either to an authorized repair center or directly back to the  company.

Contact us for information about designing and installing a class/group piano lab in your school.

P.O. Box 140446 Nashville, TN 37214
Site last updated: May 1, 2013