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Rock Creek Campus gets 17 new high-tech pianos to help music students

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This fall, a system of 17 digital electronic pianos arrived at the Rock Creek Campus, the largest updating of the campus music program since its inception in 1976.

The pianos, Roland RP-101 models, are unique in that they have two Middle C keys and a split keyboard, meaning two students can play at once. Each piano has two sets of headphones, so the students can hear their own playing without the distraction of others.Michael and Tim Stephenson of Stephenson & Associates, a Hillsboro distributor for Rodgers/Roland Products, build a Roland RP101 digital electronic piano in the PCC Rock Creek music room.

Each piano will be connected to an instructor console, or switchboard, a Roland RCS-848, which will allow the instructor to wear headphones, tune into individual stations and communicate with players using a microphone. The instructor can also mute student pianos if she or he wants to lecture.

“This is going to offer us greater growth,” said Peter Zisa, a Rock Creek music instructor, who will use the pianos. “It will help us to flourish. This was a team effort. We sought the input of John Mery (the head of the music program at PCC). We then looked at sound, price, space, and enrollment potential and it turned out the Roland was the least expensive, with the best sound quality.”

The $25,000 purchase came about as part of a college-wide initiative to bolster its music curriculum, according to Cheryl Scott, dean of the Business and Humanities Division at Rock Creek. Rock Creek is the fastest growing campus in the PCC and Scott says she hopes someday to offer an associate of arts or a transfer degree in music

“Because we were becoming a comprehensive campus, we had started offering more (music classes), including guitar,” Scott said. “That was so successful, we started asking what more we could offer.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »