HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Street Pianos in London

Posted by HelenEdith on July 4, 2009

Street Piano, St Mary Axe, at the corner of the Aviva Plaza and Leadenhall Street

Street Piano, St Mary Axe, at the corner of the Aviva Plaza and Leadenhall Street

About two weeks ago, I saw a guy playing a piano on the corner of St Mary Axe and Leadenhall Street, at the top of the steps to the Aviva Plaza. I thought that he must have brought it there to busk, but when I got around to crossing the street to take a closer look, I found out that wasn’t the case at all. This piano is part of a project called Play Me I’m Yours :: Street Pianos in which street pianos are placed in a city centre for anybody to play. The pianos currently dotted around London are due to remain for a further week, but will then be donated to local schools and community groups.

Having discovered that this piano was one of 30; and that another was just down the road in Leadenhall Market, I took a stroll down there after work for a look and located that piano in the covered market area, where it is at least protected from the weather by more than a bit of polythene sheeting.

Street Piano, Leadenhall Market

Street Piano, Leadenhall Market

It has fared a little better than the one at St Mary Axe, and still had a piano stool when I saw it, which is more than can be said for the one at St Mary Axe. However, it had several non-working keys!

I’m not sure how grateful I would be if my school or community group received one of these pianos after it had spent a hard month out on the streets of London – even though it hasn’t rained that much! 🙂

However, I must uncover my piano at home and have a little practice on it and then maybe go and have a little go on these street pianos. Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata might be a little ambitious both for me and the pianos, but I could probably manage Fur Elise. 🙂

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2 Responses to “Street Pianos in London”

  1. Buff said

    It sounds like a really good idea but they should have made some allowance for the security of the instruments. What a shame … there’s a chap who plays in the Murray St. Mall in Perth but he brings his piano out every day and plays ragtime as a busker. It’s a fun idea.

    • HelenEdith said

      When I first saw the piano in St Mary Axe, I thought that it was a busker doing exactly that.

      It’s impossible to install a piano in an unsecured area for a month and guard it from whatever might happen to it, be it graffiti artists or downright vandalism. Actually, the website does comment that some pianos get decorated, so I don’t think they’re against the graffiti artists, and have to say that the ones who painted the St Mary Axe piano pink did a pretty good job of it.

      It is such a shame when there is wanton destruction though – whether it be misuse of the piano or destroying or stealing the stool.

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