At George Mason University, Practice is a Steinway Grand Experience
Dr. Linda A. Monson, Distinguished Service Professor of Music and a Steinway Artist, with George Mason University piano students, from left, Ina Mirtcheva, Andrew Miller, John Kim, and Yoonji Kim. Photo: Evan Cantwell, George Mason University.
As seen in the Winter/Spring 2014 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.
Acknowledging that great performances usually begin well ahead of time in cloistered havens of discovery, George Mason University recently added 23 Steinway grand pianos to its practice rooms and teaching studios.
“It’s important to provide Steinway grand pianos in the places where most of the work occurs for our students,” observed Dr. Linda Apple Monson, Director of Keyboard Studies. “We wanted to offer the finest instruments possible in the practice rooms so that they are fully prepared when they approach similar instruments on the concert stage. We also wanted to emphasize the seriousness of the practice room culture with superior pianos that would help inspire them to do their best in every environment.”
In August, the School of Music took possession of 10 Model B and 13 Model A Steinway grand pianos, bringing the total number of Steinways at GMU to 80. Since that time, she said students and faculty have been thrilled with the control, beautiful tone and consistency of touch with each of the new instruments.
While some practice rooms are exclusive to piano majors, most of the facilities with the new Steinways are available to all music majors. “Everyone, from our pianists to our singers and our instrumentalists, absolutely loves them,” she said.
Dr. Monson, who is a Steinway Artist, could not say enough about the last six years GMU has spent under the All-Steinway seal. “We have seen direct growth in recruitment and retention of many wonderful students while elevating our visibility has allowed us to achieve a higher level of excellence,” she said. “One of the most visible differences has been in the number of international students, some who have come directly as a result of GMU being an All-Steinway School.”
As Virginia’s largest public university, GMU hosts music students from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Costa Rica and Russia, among other places. “There is great value not only in being an All-Steinway School, but knowing that they have Steinway grands in the practice rooms,” Dr. Monson said.
Hyun Ji Kim, an undergraduate piano major, gave the highest praise: “Practicing on these new Steinway grand pianos is like being in heaven!”