Three new Boston uprights infuse practice rooms at Keene State College

As seen in the Winter 2016 edition of the Boston Chronicle


After undergoing a much-needed Inventory Analysis in 2015, the Music Department at Keene State College determined that it needed to make piano replacement a priority over the next several years.

“With the addition of three Boston UP-118S upright pianos to replace ailing and damaged instruments, we have embarked on a long-term goal of improving our inventory,” says Department Chair Dr. Heather Gilligan. “We hope to continue this endeavor so that the quality of our pianos matches our deep-rooted commitment to piano studies at Keene State.”

A liberal arts college located in southwest New Hampshire, Keene has about 5,400 students including more than 100 music majors. The music program offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees and has been a member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1990. “Within the context of our accredited program, the piano plays a central role,” she explains. “Several students are currently earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance. Beyond that, every student who walks through our doors must focus on piano studies at some point in the degree program. Our core courses include a four-semester Functional Piano sequence, and students must pass a Piano Proficiency Assessment Exam to proceed with a Junior Recital and certain advanced classes. In addition, our collaborative pianists work constantly with students for recitals, workshops, voice lessons, and ensembles.”

Music Professor Matthew Odell contacted Brendan Murphy, Director of Institutional Sales at M. Steinert & Sons, for a realistic assessment. “We purchased Boston uprights for the practice rooms, and our students were immediately thrilled to see such a marked improvement! The pianos get a lot of use every day in preparation for lessons, recitals, and classes. Having good quality instruments makes a huge difference in how they approach their practice and the results they achieve,” he says.


‘Having good quality instruments makes a huge difference in how they approach their practice and the results they achieve’


Founded in 1909, Keene State College has been graduating students with music degrees since the mid-1930s, when it was known as Keene Teachers College. Since then, Keene has evolved from being a “normal school” to a comprehensive public liberal arts college in the University System of New Hampshire.

“Clearly, it’s long overdue to systematically replace our aging inventory,” notes Music Professor Joseph Darby. “Despite an ever-shrinking budget, our Music Department will move forward with a program to replace upright and grand pianos. We are most grateful to Mr. Murphy and M. Steinert & Sons for providing high-quality service, high-level expertise, the best instruments in the industry, and yet very competitive prices in the New England region.”

An Inventory Analysis is a fluid document that provides schools like Keene with a road map to manage existing inventory. According to Steinert’s Murphy, every music institution can benefit from a thorough review to help them understand what they have, assess their needs, manage their budgets, and plan for maintenance.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Keene State music department in creating a strategy to upgrade the college’s pianos – necessary tools for the study of music,” he says. “This first step toward a better piano inventory demonstrates that the music department and college are committed to, and understand the importance of, providing quality equipment for students and faculty.”

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