In a collaborative effort between the Florida Department ofEducation, BMI, Yamaha and Apple, elementary-aged students from 23Florida school districts attended distance-learning master classes heldvia video conference by two New York songwriters, Chris Cerf (SesameStreet) and Julie Gold ("From a Distance"). The program was an ideathat came about through discussions between BMI and past MENC chairmanand 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 videoconferencinglink was arranged between BMI in New York City and a special videoclassroom at the University of South Florida. The project was incollaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the Arts inEducation Grants, the Florida Department of Education and AppleComputer Corporation. The masters taught at the BMI New York officesusing two PSR550 portable keyboards provided by Yamaha, identical tothose used by the students who attended the two-hour, six-week lessonon 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 collaborativedistance-learning environments. His enthusiastic response to ourprogram helped ensure its success," said Robbin Ahrold, VP corporaterelations for BMI, who was the BMI architect for the project.
"Having the opportunity to support the BMI distance-learning programshows Yamaha's continued commitment to songwriters and musiceducation," said Gero. "It was a natural that Yamaha would want toprovide Chris and Julie the exact PSR keyboards as that used by thekids."
The BMI Distance Learning program, which began as a pilot lastFebruary, will continue this fall and hopes to expand to other schooldistricts across the country. Cerf and Gold have "signed on" onceagain.
For more, visit www.yamaha.com.