I’ve had some time to reflect upon my journey playing 29 pianos for “Play Me, I’m Yours” and what it has meant to me! The number of ways that I have been enlightened by this project are incredible!
I am extremely touched as I reflect upon all the people that let me know how inspired they were by my journey! And it is something that I didn’t fully expect! I had one follower send me a message after reading “The Imperfect Piano” post and say how deeply moved she was by my song “When it Rains” and by what I wrote about my experience! She said that I inspired her to look at herself and at her life in a new way; that she felt liberated and inspired. I was contacted by photographers who wanted to come along and take pictures of my journey, by someone who wanted to do a video interview with me about my music, by fans who started to appear at a few pianos, by another musician who wanted to play with me at a piano, and by a producer for NBC news who filmed a bit of me playing in Times Square and subsequently began following my journey and listening to my music!
I also learned a very important lesson about getting involved in your community! When I initially heard about “Play Me, I’m Yours” I thought, “Wow that’s really cool”. But after reading an article about it in the NY Times and learning a bit about the charity Sing for Hope I felt called to do something more, and to experience this work of art on a much deeper level! It was daunting and seemed like an immense amount work to play 29 pianos in 10 days while documenting everything on film and blogging about each day’s experiences…but something inside me felt the spark of excitement and I have learned enough to know that when you feel that spark, something inside of you knows that it is your destiny to follow that path…and that it will be life changing. And on this path I came across so many people over the last 10 days that had no idea that this installation was even going on or that said, “Yeah I heard about that but haven’t gone to any of the pianos.” I felt like shaking them and saying, “You are missing the coolest thing to have happened to NYC in ages!” And I honestly make that statement with the utmost sincerity! The number of people that came together, discovered or re-discovered their love for music, that found a new artist that they loved and could help support, or that simply went about their day with a bigger smile on their face, was incredible! We so often get consumed in our own bubble and don’t pay attention to all the amazing and important things happening in our community! I too am VERY guilty of this…but this project reminded me to open my eyes and my heart!
And as a musician I feel that I have earned some serious chops during this journey! Not only did it give me hours of practice, but I sang in 100 degree heat, with no microphone, with kids on each side, horns honking, sirens blaring, people taking photographs, teenagers talking to me while I’m playing, and all on pianos that were about a half a step out of tune! I even had a cockroach run over my foot while playing in Times Square! Talk about distractions and unusual circumstances….but, the show must go on as they say…and boy did I learn how to keep a song going while mayhem was breaking out all around me!
As I look back, a few moments in particular stick out as highlights! Playing the piano at the end of a pier in Riverside Park and having a group of 13 year old girls cheer and ask if they could get a photograph with me, an older man in Harlem saying that he and a bunch of little kids wanted me back on the piano because they were inspired by the music I was playing, a 10 year old girl who jumped on the piano in St Nicholas Park after I was finished and belted out one of my songs at the top of her lungs while her little brother leaned on the piano eating a hot dog! Singing an impromptu duet in Greely Square with a stranger, a woman who said I made her day in Riverbank State Park, and belting out a horribly sung version of Thunder road with a group of strangers at Astor Place!
From Battery Park to Harlem each piano offered its own unique story and put me in touch with someone special to teach to me a new lesson! I’m so grateful to all those that shared in my journey and met me along the way! And to my friends and sister who helped plan, film, and set up my blog….thank you!