Recently, our neighborhood in suburban Denver enjoyed the grand opening of the “Streets of Southglenn”. Once a mall, it is now a village of specialty shops, restaurants, flower-pot-adorned streets, department stores, fountains and a natural foods grocery store. This national chain store features local rock bands and small ensembles during special store functions.
One evening, while shopping and dining–yes there is even a place to dine at this organic market–a band was playing up on the balcony, an extension of the dining area. Inspired by the live music instead of the typical “musack”, I envisioned a piano up in the balcony and opening performance opportunities to local teachers and their students and local artists.
Thanks to the wonderful and visionary people at the food market and the owner of a piano store nearby, a piano was placed permanently in the balcony. It is opened to teachers and well-prepared students every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am-7:00pm.
Local area students now look forward to monthly opportunities to try out tried-and-true favorites and newly-learned pieces. Shoppers and diners are pleasantly surprised to hear live music and amazed when they notice a young person making the beautiful music. Kiddos donned in soccer cleats stand still to listen to peers. One table of diners commented that instead of going to a concert, the concert came to them. Potential students may walk in the door so teachers are always encouraged to bring business cards.
The store is looking to book local pianists and groups for Friday night concerts. In fact, last week Friday, a bassoon quartet serenaded the crowd with Broadway tunes!
With the help of Google Calendar, I now schedule those interested in booking a time through my MTH website.
As I pondered how to provide more friendly performance opportunities for my students, I would have never dreamed of this possibility. Historically, making music and casually sharing it with friends and neighbors was a common occurrence in homes and salons. It is wonderful to see musicians of all ages and levels continuing this tradition of giving the gift of music to the local community.
Is there a venue waiting for a piano in your neighborhood?