Since 2010, the ‘ Street Piano ’ craze has taken off globally. The trend started with the ‘Play me I’m Yours’ art instillation which was created by Luke Jerram back in 2008. Somewhat different from playing your digital piano in the comfort of your own home, street pianos are proving to be just as popular. 15 old, donated pianos were placed across the city of Birmingham for three weeks, but by the end of the three weeks the pianos had become such a sensation that many cities across the country decided to have them installed on their streets permanently.
Over the past few years, the Street Piano craze has escalated to the point where most of Britain’s larger train stations have at least one piano for public use.
Heartwarming street piano stories go viral
There have been a few cases (the most notable in the States) where homeless people have found themselves at a street piano and they have shocked the public with beautiful renditions of classical tunes. It is these cases that have gone viral online on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube that have inspired millions to purchase their own pianos, electronic pianos, and portable pianos in order to practice at home, so they are able to play a street piano when they come across one.
Personally, I love street pianos because it’s a unique chance to play for other people. Whether or not they actually stop and listen is an entirely different story, but I like to think that even if someone listens momentarily as they alight their train, it is worth it. I am by no means a great pianist, but there have been occasions where I have found myself on the piano bench of a street piano having a tinkle on the ivories (usually at either St Pancras station in London or Oxford Road station in Manchester) and I have amassed a crowd!
Street Piano creates ‘musical wallpaper’
It is mad to think that the pieces I practice at home on my digital piano will be heard by the general public in London and Manchester. Although quite a daunting thought, it’s also quite an exciting prospect. Providing musical wallpaper for people in the street is something that may seem trivial – but it’s amazing how many people will have a smile on their face because of it. When I walk through a station where someone’s playing a street piano, the music – no matter what level – brings a smile to my face and always inspires me to go home and play my own electric piano.
Although playing at home has a completely different feel (in all honesty, my Chase P-40 is a million times nicer to play than any street piano).. the level of satisfaction from playing in a public space is unrivalled.