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Music and Art | Seeing Colourful Pianos on My Travels

I started taking piano lessons when I was 8. I was never a concert pianist. Piano was quite a difficult subject for me. I’m very musically inclined, but I always tended to rely on my ears more than my sight. It took months for me to learn some of the songs I would play, although granted I was playing songs a bit more complicated than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Piano was a major part of my life for about 12 years. My former piano teacher Karen and I still keep in contact, going for coffee every few months. She’ll tell me about being the accompanist for a local production of Company. Then I’ll go home and try to play “The Ladies Who Lunch” and I’ll simultaneously curse and praise Mr. Sondheim because his songs are brilliant to listen to, but a bitch for me to play.

Anyway I digress a bit, but the point was I grew up playing the piano. While I don’t play piano for 90 minutes a day like I used to I believe my piano lessons have shaped who I am today. It gave me an appreciation for music, and it certainly helped me growing up. Music lessons offer children a lot of tangible benefits. There are studies that show taking music lessons has a kid has many benefits, beyond just an appreciation for music. I would say even if you are an adult and you want to take music lessons there are many benefits you will experience.

A few times in my travels (and recently at home too) I’ve noticed colourful street piano in the city that are open for the public to play. I don’t know much about art, but I love these installments that show how music and art can be combined into a public setting. Hearing music outside, or inside, at pretty much any time of the day or night instantly puts me in a better mood. Even if it’s a sad blues song I always want to hear music (by other people – I’m too self-critical to enjoy the experience when I play). Here are just a few of the artistic pianos I’ve seen on my travels in the past few years.

New York City

An Orange Piano in Times Square in New York City.

This was one of the first colourful pianos I’d seen on my travels, a lovely orange piano in the middle of Times Square back in 2010.

New Orleans

Piano in a Souvenir Store in New Orleans.

A piano at a souvenir store in New Orleans. I’m not sure if this one could be played, but it’s still pretty nifty.

Denver

Purple Piano at the 16th Street Mall in Denver.

I went to Denver right after my first trip to New Orleans, and it was nice to see all these colourful pianos and here some live music outside.

Piano Piano at the 16th Street Mall in Denver.

16th Street Mall in Denver had lots of pianos to play when I was there in 2012. This is a nice pink one.

A Little Bird Piano in Denver.

A Little Bird Piano.

Animal Cracker piano in Denver.

This piano that was painted like a box of animal crackers was probably my favourite art piano in Denver.

 

Don't Worry Be Happy Piano in Denver.

Don’t Worry Be Happy Piano.

Union Station Piano in Denver.

An artsy piano with a local flair (you can see Denver’s Union Station on the front).

Edmonton

Topos Piano at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Last year the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton featured a play called 2 Pianos 4 Hands. This piano was in the lobby of the theatre and is called Topos.

Van Gogh Piano at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.

Another piano at The Citadel Theatre. This is called Van Gogh’s Garden. I love the mosaic of tiles on the front of the piano.

Not every place I’ve visited has had these public artistic pianos, but I’m glad I’ve been able to see a few of them when I travel. Anything to bring music and arts to the public is a good thing in my opinion. Maybe I’ll open up my piano books and start practicing some songs so I can play one of these artistic pianos the next time I see one on my travel.

Which of these pianos is your favourite?

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14 Responses to Music and Art | Seeing Colourful Pianos on My Travels

  1. Mary @ Green Global Travel February 24, 2014 at 6:47 PM #

    I love this post. Who knew that there were so many colorful pianos all over the world? My favorite is the one painted like a box of animal crackers in Denver. So cute! Thanks for sharing.

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 2:51 PM #

      That animal cracker piano was my favorite too. It even had the nutritional information painted on the side, although the photos I took of that part didn’t turn out so well.

  2. Jessie Voigts February 24, 2014 at 8:14 PM #

    What FUN!!! I would love to play ANY of them!

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 2:52 PM #

      They were so much fun to see, and I’m sure they’d be fun to play too.

  3. Em February 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM #

    Such a great idea, they are in my home town (Melbourne) at the moment.

    http://streetpianos.com/melbourne2014/

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 3:05 PM #

      I had heard that some of the pianos tour. Hope you are able to check them out while they’re in Melbourne.

  4. Katie Featherstone February 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM #

    These are great- what a nice idea to allow anyone to play them too!

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 2:53 PM #

      Yes. I loved seeing something encouraging public music performance and art.

  5. Laura @Travelocafe February 26, 2014 at 5:53 AM #

    I cannot believe this is real. So many great pianos right there in the middle of the street. Amazing.

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 3:07 PM #

      It was very fun to see, and I hope it’s not the last time I see such fun pianos.

  6. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 26, 2014 at 6:24 AM #

    What a fun and quirky post! This is a lovely idea! I think there are a couple floating about in London too, though not sure how colourful!

    • Alouise March 2, 2014 at 3:11 PM #

      Even if the pianos in London aren’t that colorful it’s still nice to have something encourage music performance is pretty cool.

  7. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} May 25, 2014 at 10:02 PM #

    This is such a fun way to get music out into public places, and the artsiness of these pianos is an extra special touch. My favorite is the one that looks like a box of animal crackers. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make to leap to decorating my own piano like this, but you’ve planted the seed in my brain. Does it not rain often in Denver? That would be my one concern with an outdoor piano. It wouldn’t last long outdoors in Malaysia.

    • Alouise May 26, 2014 at 3:18 PM #

      I know that animal cracker piano is fantastic. The year I was in Denver it was really dry (there were wildfire warnings for certain areas of Colorado), but I know the pianos are only out during the summer, and I’m sure they get covered up or moved inside when it rains.

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