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 · 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.

community · creativity · environment · play · Social · technology

Music for the Masses

Happy Friday everyone. Be sure to go out and play today. 🙂

THE DIRT

Daily Tous les Jours, a Canadian interaction design group, creates wonderful multi-disciplinary media projects in public spaces. According to the designers, the idea is to harness mass participation to create one-of-a-kind musical events. At the same time, they also totally change the character of public spaces, getting people to have fun.

The group just created 21 Balancoires, a “giant collective instrument” for Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles festival (see video above). For the piece,people swing to activate the music. They write: “When in motion, each swing in the series triggers different notes and, when used all together, the swings compose a musical piece in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation.”

montreal1
montreal2

Daily Tout les Jours worked with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, an animal behavior professor from the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty, to explore how cooperation really works and how to make it happen. Their research found that “cooperation…

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behavior · community · creativity · Social · youtube

More subway enrichment

More examples of how to make your environment fun, thanks to Boing Boing:

In this video from the NYC subway, a singer named Jessica Latshaw, bearing a small uke, finds herself sitting across from a gentleman with a fine pair of bongos. The two begin an impromptu jam session, emceed by a random gregarious stranger and captured for posterity by a subway rider with a camphone. The performance is just fine, and it’s clear from the footage that the rest of the car is having a fine time.

In theory, it’s possible that the whole thing is a fix, “buzz marketing” from Latshaw and co, and if so, well, it’s an extraordinarily nonobnoxious example of the form.

okay- what you are about to watch is a true new york experience. what originally started out as a typical nyc subway ride (sitting across from guy who smelled like urine) turned into an awesome performance by two people who have never met before. i captured the whole thing on video.

never a dull moment on the nyc subway (Thanks, z7q2!)

Uncategorized

TSA improving the airport experience through music

Christmas card "Happy Christmas!" wi...
The TSA at LAX will sing you a merry Christmas. Image via Wikipedia

The airport can be a stressful and harried space, and usually isn’t helped by security. However, at LAX that same security crew is hoping to make the airport more, well, jolly:

Travel isn’t usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.

True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn’t joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.

Ray Matute, the director of the chorus, tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish that the quizzical looks the singers get from hassled travelers soon turn to smiles.

“It really puts the good face — and the human face — of TSA on the map,” he says. Matute’s passion for music led him to found the chorus a few years back. “It gives all of us creative people here within the organization an outlet.”

During its 45-minute show, the chorus sings the usual Christmas carols — Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Silver Bells — but also slips in some of the singers’ own favorites, like What a Wonderful World and You Are So Beautiful.

There’s video of the chorus performing during last year’s holiday season here, with a report from USA Today.

more at NPR: At LAX, TSA Workers Sing Cheer Into Holiday Travel

brain · cognition · creativity · music · neuroscience

How the brain reacts to music, improv

As a follow-up to my previous post about brain reactions to improv, creativity, and problem-solving, check out my post on my other blog, Art of Science, to see the TED talk by Charles Limb discussing how the brain works on music.

How the brain reacts to music, improv.