• Street pianos in major cities

    The photo above shows a street piano at the London Liverpool Street Station. 30 free-to-use pianos have been scattered around old London town as a part of this month’s Sing London festival, encouraging pedestrians to hit the keys and engage with their urban environment.

    Touring internationally since 2008, ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram

    Street pianos are appearing in cities across the world. Located in parks, squares, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries, markets and on bridges and ferries, the pianos are for any member of the public to enjoy and claim ownership of. So far, Jerram has installed 167 pianos in 8 different cities worldwide.

    Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. Each piano acts as sculptural, musical, blank canvas that becomes a reflection of the communities it is embedded into. Many pianos are personalised and decorated.

    Questioning the ownership and rules of public space ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is a provocation, inviting the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.

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  • First Piano Lesson Poster

    Here is a French poster of a woman giving child piano instruction with richly colored background, by a French illustrator-artist named Eugene Oge.

    This poster could be named: First Piano Lesson. The first lesson is being given by an instructor in a green dress to a red-headed youngster in a beige print. With the red and yellow background and indigo carpet, the richly-colored poster could easily have been a skirmish of competing hues. But Oges keen eye melds them together harmoniously in this quaint design.

    Oges principal claim to fame was his long tenure as house artist for printer Charles Verneau around the turn of the century; he also, however, produced numerous drawings that were well-received in fine-art circles. Eugene Oge, a did a number of great advertising during his lifetime from 1861-1936. He was a major figure in the Belle Epoque and did many outstanding ads for resorts, food, and all sorts of beverage brands.

    As a piano teacher, this is one of the collection I have on my piano studio.

    A retrospective exhibition of all his posters drew a large audience at the Bibliotheque Forney in Paris during the summer of 1998.
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  • French Vintage Piano Poster 1889

    "Pianos Focke" Circa 1900
    48.25" x 34.75"
    A. Dayman. Litho. G. Bataille, Paris

    This is an antique advertising poster for a piano company. I love these old vintage photos. It is so romantic and nostalgic.

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  • The Walking Piano

    Big Piano (also called The Walking Piano), was invented in 1976 by Remo Saraceni. It is a precursor of Dance pad games and is a musical instrument that merges dance, music, and play. The Piano is played by the user's feet where shoes, socks, and even the tiniest of toes can tap the keys that make the music. The instrument is perhaps best known from the 1988 comedy Big.

    The film Big brought the Big Piano to mainstream attention; the filmmakers first saw it on display at the toy store FAO Schwarz together with other Remo Saraceni's designs and inventions in a special showroom of the store that displayed new ideas.

    In this spectacular demonstration of Big Piano's playfulness and interactive magic, Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia plays Heart and Soul and Chopsticks (song).

    After the movie "Big", the Big Piano became famous worldwide and many museums worldwide now have their own. Big Piano remains as popular as the famous scene of the movie now itched in the minds of millions of people all over the world, spanning many generations. The one seen in the movie is now back in its home town at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum.

    FAO Schwarz - Big Piano
    Uploaded by soanepowate. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.
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  • Musical Stairs make climbing stairs fun

    Odenplan is a plaza located in the district Vasastaden in central Stockholm, Sweden, named after the old Norse god Oden. Odenplan is also the name of the subway station located here which opened in 1952. Construction work which began in 2006 and soon to be completed in 2011 will make Odenplan one of Stockholm’s largest public transportation hubs.

    The stairs in this photo is located at Odenplan metro station. The stairs were built to test the theory of fun. Every step on the stairs produces a corresponding piano note tune, and passengers are observed to be having fun climbing up and down the stairs producing piano. Here is a video showing the response to the Odenplan piano stairs.

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  • Music and the Alzheimer's Brain

    One story after another, we hear of Alzheimer's patients who lost their power of speech, recognition yet can still remember their music. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist theorizes that "Music occupies more area of the brain than language does." Music is somehow embedded in the brain, and Alzheimer's patients are able to recall the function of music and somehow express themselves through it.

    The book "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and The Brain", Oliver Sacks, the author neurologist describes the Alzheimer's sufferer Woody Geist, who loses everything but music: singing "can give him back himself, and not least, it can charm others, arouse their amazement and admiration - reactions more and more necessary to someone who, in his lucid moments, is painfully aware of his tragic disease and sometimes says that he feels ‘broken inside'." The book was voted as one of the best books of 2007 by the Washington Post. Here is a video clip of what Oliver Sacks has to say.

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  • Are you Too Old to Learn the Piano?

    One of the most inspiring stories of adults learning piano is that of Aline Chretien, wife of the former Prime Minister of Canada - Jean Chretien who was prime minister for the years 1993-2003 .

    She always wanted to learn piano but did not have the chance when she was young. She started taking piano lessons during her 50's. and eventually became an RCM graduate. In September of 2003, she tried out her skills at an amateur variety show for senior citizens in Trois-Rivières (See The Walrus Nov. 2003 issue).

    Overcoming her innate bashfulness, Madame Aline Chretien had agreed to put in a surprise appearance at the popular annual event. She was to play three pieces on the piano, an instrument she took up only as an adult.

    Aline Chretien never liked the limelight, so this was a nerve-wracking experience for her. According to the ex-Prime Minister, his wife Aline Chretien did not sleep for three days. One of the numbers Madame Chrétien played that night was “Vive la Canadienne,” a traditional Quebec folk song The crowd of 1,200 seniors clapped, sang along, and spontaneously rose to their feet in applause as she wrapped up her performance.

    Today, Madame Aline Chretien serves as the Honorary Co-Chair of the Friends of the Piano Pedagogy Research Society. She remains a piano enthusiast.

    So, if you ever think that you are too old to learn piano, think again!
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