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Piano Expert Instructs Math, Music Students

Math and Music Academy 1To conclude the week-long Math and Music Academy Camp at the University of St. Thomas, piano expert Michael Ello gave a demonstration on piano pitch on Friday, July 27 in Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon.

Paul Krystofiak, director and founder of the Music Preparatory School, which sponsored the camp, imparts the need for mathematicians to learn music in some capacity.

"Students who are exposed to music-based lessons score higher on fraction tests than those who learn in the conventional manner," Krystofiak said. 

The inaugural Math and Music Academy, July 23-27, explored math concepts through the use of music and technology. Leading math professors, musicians and presenters demonstrated the relationships between mathematical and musical concepts using a blackboard, violin, piano and guitar. The students were able to tailor their learning experience to their specific needs, whether they were a beginner or an advanced artist. Students were able to learn about fractions through rhythm, visualize different tones by learning about waveforms and frequencies, and examining musical scales using ratios. 

"Since this is the first time we have offered this program, I was not sure what to expect," Dr. Jack Follis, UST assistant professor of mathematics and expert for the Academy. "I have been very impressed with the energy, excitement and eagerness to learn that the students have each morning."

"We were excited to have a professional of Mike Ello’s expertise in math and music give our keynote presentation," Follis said. "Having a presentation based on tuning the piano reinforced and tied together many of the concepts covered in the Math and Music Academy."

Math and Music CampMichael Ello, a registered piano technician, has been servicing pianos since 1981. He is active in the Houston Piano Technicians Guild Chapter and in various committees in the International PTG. He is also involved in administering tuning exams that are required for PTG members to become RPTs. His family-owned business, based in Richmond, Texas, services the greater Houston area with tuning, regulating, voicing, rebuilding and re-finishing services. 

"I demonstrated several aspects of math on the piano including frequency, beats and tempering," Ello said. "I will also address how a piano technician uses different types of octaves across the inharmonic piano.”

For information on fall activities, visit the MPS webpage.

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