Oberlin Blogs

Dale Rothenberg ’13

Hey! My name is Dale, I'm from West Hartford, Connecticut, and this is my last year at Oberlin. As a Jazz Piano Performance major, I arrived at Oberlin with my mind set on music. However, over the past few years, I've developed a few other interests, hobbies, and possible career choices that I'm equally excited about.

One of the things that pushed me towards Oberlin was how closely the college and conservatory are connected. Though I'm not a double degree student, I've had the pleasure of studying at one of the top conservatories in the world while still taking advantage of some fantastic arts and sciences courses. I'm about as focused on photography as I am on music. I've taken almost every photography course in the art department, I was able to work as a photo editor for the Oberlin Review for two years, and I've had photos published in just about every campus publication. Beyond that, I've gone to Alabama with some friends to make a movie, I learned how to maintain my bicycle at the bike coop, and I've even built my own camera, utilizing equipment only available in the physics department. Opportunities like these aren't possible at most conservatories, and I had no idea that I would be doing so much stuff outside of music before I came to Oberlin.

Of course, there are a ton of unique opportunities within the conservatory as well — even if you're not a music major. Oberlin has over two hundred Steinway pianos that anyone can practice with, and we have the only offsite Steinway training facility. Last semester, I rebuilt a Steinway grand piano. There were three other students in my class, and while we had one teacher, there were usually three or four technicians working in the shop at one time. By the end of the semester, we had completely refurbished the piano, and now it's somewhere in the practice rooms, where it will be played every day for another seventy years. I learned so much about the simple mechanics of the piano that I couldn't have learned anywhere else.

Beyond academics, I love Oberlin for its ties to the local community, weird architecture, great student body, and albino squirrels. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Entries from this blogger

The Piano Shop

November 15, 2012

I was surprised at the level of detail that goes into every inch of the piano. You can see why a good piano costs as much as a car - we spent a few classes repainting the dampers, aligning and glueing new felt to each damper (the shape of the felt changes through different registers of the piano), putting them back into the piano, and fitting them until they perfectly silenced the strings.