Harold B. Rhodes

Harold B. Rhodes in the studio, Los Angeles, CA 1992 ..


H
arold B. Rhodes
has enjoyed one of the most storied careers in 20th century music. He is acclaimed not just as an inventor of instruments, but as a music educator and an elder statesman of the music industry. Mr. Michael Green, past president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, describes Rhodes as a "Modern Leonardo Da Vinci".

Born in 1910, Rhodes attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High, majoring in architecture. But his real love was music, which he learned standing over the shoulder of greats like Art Tatum and Fats Waller. In the 30's, he began teaching piano, and his reputation as a teacher grew rapidly. He taught stars like Lana Turner and Harpo Marx, opened a chain of teaching studios in major U.S. cities, coast to coast, and had his own radio program, becoming known as "The Piano Teacher of the Air."

During World War II (after the battle of the Bulge), the Air Surgeon General asked Rhodes, by now America's most popular piano teacher, to devise a musical therapy program for convalescing GI's. At a loss to know where to get enough pianos, Rhodes hit upon the brilliant idea of using Air-Force surplus parts from U.S. bombers to make miniature "lap-top" piano kits the troops could build for themselves.