The first Piano Orchestra performance took place at Prestige Pianos as part of International Piano Week 2014.
Piano students, parents and friends had a chaotic kind of fun at the inaugural Piano Orchestra, an event which was part of International Piano Week. Sonny Chua wrote a piece for the occasion called Umi's Lullby. A total of 14 players turned up at Prestige Pianos, a piano shop in Preston and together we created a version of Umi's Lullaby on 9 pianos. It was a fun challenge bringing it together and not quite knowing who was going to turn up or what was going to happen until the day.
Among those performing were veteran teachers and performers, adult students, young learners and volunteers who have never had lessons but were willing to give it a go. We had duets and trios from parents, their children and younger siblings. There was a combination of those who could read music and those who couldn't. Everyone had a part to play.
I had a number of aims when arranging the piece. I wanted families to experience practicing together at home. It was a way for parents and siblings to experience what it is like to prepare a piece for performance and the types of preparation one needs to go through. This will help to support students in their future musical endeavours. I also wanted a performance outlet for my adult students to be able to participate in without feeling like they were participating in a kids only event. It was public, but not pressured, so that the event promoted musical participation in a way that onlookers would see that learning the piano is not exclusive and high pressured.
In the weeks leading up to the Piano Orchestra performance, all my students were excited with anticipation knowing that we were taking part in an International event. It was also very exciting knowing that the composer was watching and interested to find out what we would do with his piece.
Thanks to Hal Leonard and to Sonny Chua for the opportunity to get involved. We are all looking forward to next year's piece and to learning more of Sonny's music.
To read about International Piano Week in The Piano Teacher Magazine, follow the link here:
Katrina Wilson O'Brien teaches piano, plays music and encourages frivolity.