Piano in the Park?

During my three-week Civic Term course called "Music that Matters". We learned about music that has helped to teach, inspire, and ignite. During this course, we had three guests virtually talk to the class. Our guests Faiz Razi, Conan Neutron, and Fransisco Ramirez are active people in the music community and they talked to us about music and why it matters to them. For this action project, we were asked to create a proposal for My Block, My Hood, My City. Their newest project asks, "How can you make a positive impact on your neighborhood?" 

I am proposing a giant interactive musical experience. I want to install a giant piano keyboard into the ground so that the community can interact with it. The piano will be playable and light up when the keys are pressed. I want to create it so that people could also pick from a list of songs and play them on the piano. When the songs are played the piano keys will light up in beat with the song. The music for this installation will consist of a keyboard with 2½ octaves, which is also 32 keys. The music connected to the piano will all be instrumental. Those music options will all be in an attached Spotify playlist. The keyboard itself is designed to last outside and in various weather conditions.


My installation will take place at Blackhawk Park, which is my neighborhood park. It will be an in-person installation that will hopefully stick around long term. I want the installation to right across from the playground. My location is a high traffic area because the park is right near two big streets. There is usually a lot of soccer games and barbeques at the park during the summer.


The piano installation allows people to freely create music and songs by themselves or when other songs are playing. This clearly allows the audience to show improvisation which is a free performance of a musical passage. I would also say that this installation allows the audience space to freely become themselves while they are interacting with the piano. This installation is also helping with the transmission of songs and music. It could introduce people to new songs, artists, or genres that they normally wouldn’t listen to on their own. I also believe that this installation would have repetition. Especially since there is only a certain amount of keys on the piano and probably a cap on the number of songs that we can connect to the installation. Even though I don’t want to admit it, I have to say that the installation could still show exclusivity to some people. This could be based on language barriers and the fact that this music installation would only be installed in one place. The tempo and the meter of the music would all be up to the person playing the interactive piano installation. Any music that is connected to installation would also have its own tempo and meter since it is already created and coming from an outside artist. The person playing the giant piano would have the autonomy to add on and improvise on their own songs or a song on the playlist. 


What makes this unique is that people will be able to pick from a list of songs that I have collected on a Spotify playlist and play them on the piano. These songs are well-known lullabies, or are on the radio, or are from well-known composers. They are also all going to be the piano versions of the songs. I believe that this helps to make the music more inclusive. Anyone could also play the piano freely. This piece/piano resembles hope and unity. It would help bring people together in the neighborhood. It would also help the community, especially since there isn’t a lot of art in the community.  

My musical installation should be chosen because it brings people in the community together. It helps inspire and spark an interest in learning about music. It also is a great piece for my community that doesn’t have a lot of art in the area. My installation would teach people in my community about the piano and what it is. It would inspire people in my community to dive deeper into their own interests in music and possibly pursue taking up a musical instrument. It would also ignite and bring people together. I hope for it to become a safe place for people to learn, as well as a safe place of gathering. My installation would also bring hope and joy to the park and community that we can get through this hard time.

I really enjoyed working on this project. I liked designing something useful and beneficial for my neighborhood. I liked exploring how music could help teach and inspire my community. I had a little trouble with the Youtube video, but it worked out in the end. I have always enjoyed music and playing the piano and I hope you enjoyed learning about this music proposal. 


Works Cited:

Bishop, Todd. “New 'Illuminating Piano' Works with IPad or Windows to Light the Way for Aspiring Pianists.” GeekWire, 21 Jan. 2015, www.geekwire.com/2015/new-illuminating-piano-works-ipad-windows-light-way-aspiring-pianists/.

sgmoye. “Piano Diagram.” Stack Exchange,  7 Feb. 2020, https://tex.stackexchange.com/posts/527410/revisions.

“Smale Riverfront Park.” The Verdin Company, 12 Feb. 2017, www.verdin.com/smale-riverfront-park-cincinnati-oh/.

CH. “Chicago: Blackhawk Park.” Youtube, 17 Dec. 2020.

CH. “Musical Installation Sketch.” 16 Dec. 2020.

CH. “Piano Music Playlist.” Spotify, 16 Dec. 2020, https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1w41dWOVjBp48TZcjbdQxL.

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