community · culture · happiness · music · play

Seattle’s Pianos in the Parks program encourages park discovery through music

Ah summer, which in Seattle brings out swimmers, cyclists, picnickers… and pianos!

It’s music to our ears: the pianos are back. After a successful first campaign, Pianos in the Parks will be returning for a second season on July 16. The month-long program will add to additional pianos to the roster this year, totaling 22 pianos in Puget Sound-area locations. Seattle Parks and Recreation will host 11 pianos in public parks.

The program, led by Laird Norton Wealth Management, is designed to encourage the discovery of parks through music and art by placing one-of-a-kind, artist-designed upright and grand pianos in parks and public spaces across King County including Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Sea-Tac, for free public use and music exploration.

All 22 previously owned pianos are procured, repaired, tuned, transported and maintained by Classic Pianos; and are painted by student, alumni and faculty artists of Gage Academy of Art.

The specific parks and public spaces which will host the pianos through Aug. 16 will be announced at a public kick-off celebration from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf
The specific parks and public spaces which will host the pianos through Aug. 16 will be announced at a public kick-off celebration from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle. At the celebration, local artists who painted the pianos will unveil their works of art – followed by a musical performance in which all 22 instruments will be played by local pianists. Also participating in the event are a number of musicians, city and county officials, and program partners. Following the unveiling, the public will have an opportunity to view all 22 pianos, meet the artists and be treated to additional musical performances. – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf

via Pianos in the Parks encourage park discovery through music.

There will be a public “opening” of the pianos from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle.

The pianos will welcome park-goers in their respective locations thru Aug. 16. During this time, people of all skill levels and musical persuasions are urged to enter a Pianos in the Parks video contest for a chance to perform as part of the Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP 90.3 FM on Friday, Aug. 21. Entrants simply need to upload a video of their performance using one of the participating pianos to the Pianos in the Parks website, http://www.pianosintheparks.com beginning July 16.

Find a piano, take a picture or video of yourself with it, and share with the world!

from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf
behavior · community · happiness · music · youtube

The Gift of Music In A Nursing Home. – LittleThings.com

Give a little kindness and playfulness in an otherwise stale, quiet, and sometimes depressing space, and see how far it goes!

The Piano Guys is a group of amazingly talented musicians, who are all about putting on a spectacular show and as you’ll see in this video, it was way better than any of the old timers ever expected. The group showed up at Stirling Court in St. George, Utah and surprised the residents with a truly incredible Charlie Brown medley.

As you’ll see, the senior citizens were delighted by the classic “Peanuts” tune on piano and couldn’t stop moving their feet. This video is undeniable proof that music is good for the soul. Just look at how the performance lifted their spirits!

video via She Heard Music In The Nursing Home. Her Reaction? HEART MELTING!! – LittleThings.com.

mental health · music

Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia: study – NY Daily News

My heart will be blessed with the sound of music.. and your brain too.

A recent research study found that those suffering from moderate to severe dementia did particularly well singing show tunes from movies and musicals such as ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Oklahoma!’ in group settings and had a marked improvement in their remembering skills versus those who simply listened during the sing-alongs.

more via Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia: study – NY Daily News.

community · creativity · music

Seattle Places Pianos in its Parks for the Summer

Happy Monday. If I ever needed a pick-me-up it is this week, so what’s better than a little music – outdoors – for free – via crowdsourced pianos.

 

Piano placed in Volunteer Park, Seattle.
Piano placed in Volunteer Park, Seattle.

Seattle and the Great Northwest are known for their natural beauty. And there is no greater place to enjoy nature locally, than within the hundreds of Seattle and King County parks and open spaces. Regardless of where we live, work or play, parks are great economic equalizers – providing us all with venues for relaxation, exercise, recreation and entertainment. Seattle and King County is also known as a place where music and the visual and performing arts all thrive.

In the Pianos in the Parks public-private partnership, some of the region’s leading music and arts organizations have come together to encourage us all to discover our parks. It all starts with an alluring piano. And not just any old piano – these pianos have been donated, restored and tuned by Classic Pianos and dynamically designed by the students, faculty and friends of Gage Academy of Art. With partners like Seattle Symphony, KEXP, and City of Music who knows who you’ll find tickling the ivories of one of these pianos? From baseball to dog parks, concerts to picnics – we all now have another reason to DISCOVER OUR PARKS: the PIANO. ENJOY!

via About Pianos in the Parks » Pianos in the Parks.

Other cities have done this or similar projects before, so it is great to see this sort of project come to Seattle.

Find a piano near you!

anthropology · behavior · children · education · health · learning · music · play

To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym : NPR Ed : NPR

This gives me hope:

In the stuffy, little gymnasium at Richard Kluge Elementary in Milwaukee, 16 boys and girls are stretching, jumping and marching to music.

Two years ago, the school had no gym, art or music classes due to budget cuts. But now, Kluge students get a so-called “special” class three days a week.

Milwaukee Public Schools is one of several school systems across the country — including Los Angeles, San Diego and Nashville, Tenn. — that are re-investing in subjects like art and physical education. The Milwaukee school district is hiring new specialty teachers with the hope of attracting more families and boosting academic achievement.Music teacher Angie Dvorak is one of the teachers that’s been effected. Last year, Dvorak was part time and traveled between schools. This year, she’s stays at Kluge all day, teaching music upstairs from the school’s gymnasium.

Dvorak says she’s seen a different in her students: “I get to have them for class more frequently, which is awesome because their music skills are shooting through the roof this year.”

more via To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym : NPR Ed : NPR.

community · creativity · environment · music · play

Musical Bike Rack Designed To Add Joy To Boring Infrastructure

Even just a little play mixed in to your daily activities can make a huge difference.

Last summer, artist George Zisiadis started playfully reimagining parts of the urban infrastructure that we usually ignore. What if parking meters could become gumball machines, or subways could turn into rollercoasters? How could the everyday parts of the world around us be more fun, and spark more creativity in the rest of our lives? He published his ideas in a series of sketches called Urban Imagination, and soon was inspired to bring some of the sketches to life.

Up first: A gong hanging under a U-shaped bike rack that acts as an impromptu musical instrument. “I ride my bike around the city a lot, so I’m always using bike racks,” Zisiadis says. “There’s just this very funny space underneath them, empty and unutilized. It was an opportunity for micro-interaction: The things that we do every single day, all the time, are the largest opportunity for positively affecting people’s lives.”

Photo by Burker Seyfert
Photo by Burker Seyfert

More via Fast Co.Exist

behavior · creativity · education · health · music · play · school

Remembering to play even as the sun goes away

Happy Friday!

Now that we’re officially into fall, with the weather getting colder and wetter by the day, and all back to school or indoors,it’s important to remind ourselves of opportunities to get out and play.

Idea is Free Museum and Park Day tomorrow; September 28: over 1500 museums, and national and state parks, are opening up their doors to the public for free!

For some more structured play, there are great art, dance, and play-based programs for little and big kids. One just opened up in Colorado, and definitely understands the value of play:

dance

The Curious About Art program is just one of many preschool arts education programs the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District offers throughout the year. It’s not so much about the final product the kids create, but the journey and experiencing sensory exploration with their parents.

“It will probably look like something you expect an 18-month-old to make, something unrecognizable but still pretty wonderful,” said Vickie Willis, culture and enrichment supervisor for South Suburban.

“Everyone needs to play,” Willis said. “It makes us feel good, it unleashes possibilities in our brain, it makes us think better.”

Aside from encouraging play, the purpose of the classes is to prepare kids for a school environment by getting them socialized to being around other children, as well as developing motor skills.

“It’s to develop the motor skills, and the little ones just want to explore their world so music and art is a good way of doing that,” said Janice Schindler, the culture and enrichment coordinator at Goodson Recreation Center

more via Arts education programs in Centennial open possibilities – The Denver Post.

Seattle has a newly-minted hip-hop program for little kids that also focuses on the value of play and silliness in education:

Mini BREAKS is the original hip-hop dance class (breakin’ or “break dance”) for toddlers and preschoolers.

In this unique class, young students will have fun while they exercise, express themselves, think creatively, build self-esteem, practice respect, learn discipline and make new friends!

Outside of a dance studio, hip-hop culture (including breakin’) is not taught through choreography or 8-counts but more intuitively through interactive demonstration. Mini BREAKS focuses on encouraging young children to be creative and courageous – to come up with their own ideas and be able to express themselves by sharing those ideas with others. All children are artists – Mini BREAKS helps them remain artists as they grow up!

more via: Seattle’s Massive Monkees Open Hip-Hop Dance Studio

So remember to play and wiggle even as the weather gets cold and dark.

anthropology · children · community · creativity · culture · design · environment · music

In New Documentary “Landfill Harmonic” Music Students Scrape Together their Instruments from Trash

The kids show off their instruments

Making music is a pretty powerful thing. Especially if you’re making it out of recycled objects and keeping things out of landfills.

“Landfill Harmonic,” an upcoming documentary scheduled for release in 2014, tells the story of an orchestra whose musicians play instruments made from trash. The film is set in the town of Cateura, Paraguay, which is built on a landfill. Many of the town’s residents collect trash to recycle and sell for money, and many of the town’s children are susceptible to getting involved with gangs or drugs. A music program was set up to help keep the kids out of trouble, but because so many of them were interested, there was soon a shortage of instruments.

more via In New Documentary, ‘Recycled Orchestra’ Makes Instruments from Trash | Earth911.com.

Music, like play, has been shown to have so many cognitive benefits, and emotional as well (plus even the act of music is called “playing”). There is something very deeply rooted in humanity about playing music, it is wonderful that through ingenuity and creativity these kids can channel their energy into the incredible power of making music. Plus the fact that they’re keeping things out of landfills is just a double bonus!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie?fref=ts

Kickstarter project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/405192963/landfill-harmonic-inspiring-dreams-one-note-at-a-t

community · creativity · environment · music

Want to support music? Support green space and parks!

OK, maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but that’s the headline/thesis that Grist Editor Jess Zimmerman proposes in his short article about Seattle rapper Macklemore, and I gotta admit I like his thinking…

In this video for the Nature Conservancy, rapper Macklemore explains how municipal green space in his home city of Seattle influenced his career: He and his friends didn’t want to kick it at their parents’ houses, so they went and freestyled in parks. (Side note: Do people really still say “kick it,” or is Macklemore even older than I am?) We knew, of course, that Macklemore was into creative reuse, but who knew he had so many ideas about urban infrastructure?

The moral here is clear: Want more rappers? Make more parks. It’s just science.

I also love the fact that a hip hop artist is “kicking it” with the Nature Conservancy.

Do you know of any other artists who got their start playing in parks, beaches, or other urban green spaces? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

creativity · design · music

Xylophone Coffee Table

jelliomusictable

I looooved my xylophone as a kid. It was just fun to bang on every once in awhile. And I love the idea of being musical before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee:

The designers behind Manhattan based Jellio have dreamed up yet another uber-cool, kid-friendly home decor piece: a coffee table that doubles as a rainbow colored, working xylophone that is just begging to played by tots and adults alike! Jellio’s Music Table is a much larger version of the tiny xylophones we all tinkered away on as tots — and we think the designers have lived up to their mission to ‘combine childhood fun with interior design… and make you smile.’ Made of solid pine with a natural finish base, Jellio’s Music Table would not only be a lively focal point in a nursery or child’s bedroom, it would also be a unique and entertaining coffee table for the family room. We’d sure love to tap away to a spirited rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ on this beauty.

more via: Inhabitots