Music is an amazing thing! It can enrich both the listener & the performer at the same time. A win-win situation!
This is especially evident in the “Street Pianos” project created by UK artist, Luke Jerram. Since 2008, Luke has placed more than 1,300 street pianos in 38 cities across the globe, bearing the simple invitation “Play me I’m yours”. Over 6 million people have been touched by this project.
I was totally intrigued by this concept, that when I heard it was being installed in Melbourne Australia, I couldn’t help myself & took the train down to be part of the action!
The whole experience touched me in a profound way. People, from tiny 5 years olds, all the way up to octogenarians, would see the brightly coloured pianos sitting in public places with “Play me I’m yours” emblazoned across them & walk over & begin playing. I talked to them afterwards & they all seemed so full of joy! Some of the older people, had not touched a keyboard for many years & the experience thrilled them! Because the pianos were placed in unlikely positions, railway stations, bridge walkways etc., pedestrians were completely taken aback, but then stayed & enjoyed the music. It never failed to raise a smile from the passers by!
Luke Jerram told a few heart warming stories on a recent interview. One was of a mother in South America, who worked extra jobs to pay for her daughters music lessons. Because they didn’t have a piano at home & the daughter went to her teacher on the other side of town, the mother had never heard her play. When the “Street Pianos” installation came to their city, they were both entering a railway station & the daughter invited her mother to sit beside her on the stool & subsequently played her heart out! The mother dissolved into tears. After all these years & sacrifices to have her daughter learn, she finally heard what would have been, the most beautiful music in the world!
Another amazing story was from the UK. A piano was installed at the front of a police station. A guy came up to the keyboard & began playing just one note. This went on for 3 hours! In this time, the police had found out he was a convicted felon on the run & promptly arrested him. Obviously he wanted to be arrested, but how fantastic to use music to do it!
There are quiet a few grants given to art projects that frankly, are quite elitist & pointless, but having now experienced “Street Pianos” first hand, this project deserves to continue & receive worldwide support & funding, as it provides such an enriching experience to anyone who comes in contact with it. If it comes to a city near you, get out there & both enjoy yourself & enrich someone elses life with music.