BMI, Yamaha, Apple Support Florida Distance-Learning Program

Oct 1, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors

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In a collaborative effort between the Florida Department of Education, BMI, Yamaha and Apple, elementary-aged students from 23 Florida school districts attended distance-learning master classes held via video conference by two New York songwriters, Chris Cerf (Sesame Street) and Julie Gold ("From a Distance"). The program was an idea that came about through discussions between BMI and past MENC chairman and head of the Florida Department of Education, June Hinckley.

Pictured: Chris Cerf and Julie Gold with their students

To facilitate the distance-learning classes, a videoconferencing link was arranged between BMI in New York City and a special video classroom at the University of South Florida. The project was in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the Arts in Education Grants, the Florida Department of Education and Apple Computer Corporation. The masters taught at the BMI New York offices using two PSR550 portable keyboards provided by Yamaha, identical to those used by the students who attended the two-hour, six-week lesson on the campus of the University of Southern Florida in Tampa.

"Yamaha's Chris Gero [director of Yamaha corporate artist affairs] was quick to see the value and the potential of these collaborative distance-learning environments. His enthusiastic response to our program helped ensure its success," said Robbin Ahrold, VP corporate relations for BMI, who was the BMI architect for the project.

"Having the opportunity to support the BMI distance-learning program shows Yamaha's continued commitment to songwriters and music education," said Gero. "It was a natural that Yamaha would want to provide Chris and Julie the exact PSR keyboards as that used by the kids."

The BMI Distance Learning program, which began as a pilot last February, will continue this fall and hopes to expand to other school districts across the country. Cerf and Gold have "signed on" once again.

For more, visit www.yamaha.com.






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