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