Found Music: Street Performers & Pianos

Sometimes I teach master classes for performers and when I do, one of the exercises I use is called “Sending Hearing Out”. Here’s how it works:  Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and sit perfectly still for two minutes.  While you’re doing that, listen to every sound in the room, then listen for every sound you can hear outside the room, down the hall, out the window, in the parking lot…Now open your eyes. What did you hear? Did you hear the music? There is music all around us, but how often do we stop to hear it? Even walking down the street.  Especially  walking down the street.  For this month's theme, "Found," I want to share some of the music you can find all over the place.  Just don't forget to stop and listen...

Did you know that Tracy Chapman, Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan (fire eating), and Benjamin Franklin (singing & reciting original poetry) all started out as street performers?   Above, Portuguese singer Susana Silva performs on a bridge in London.  Finding her music will take your breath away.

If you want to take a more active role in the music there’s English artist Luke Jerram’s Play Me I’m Yours Project. Beginning in 2008, Jerram has worked with local artists in forty five cities around the world (with more coming in 2015) to decorate and place pianos in public spaces. Anyone who happens by can play them. This has resulted in people interacting with each other in a whole new way, spontaneous concerts (often by well known artists) and at least two marriages ( ). This has to be one of my favorite public art projects ever!  Above is Gillian Cosgriff's cover of Pharrell Williams' "Happy."  

So my challenge to you this month is to go out, keep your eyes open and “find” some music. If you’re in a city that has a street piano maybe even make some music that others can find!  We’ll be here waiting to hear all about it!

Wendy Lane

Wendy Lane Bailey is our regular guest columnist on all things musical!  You can hear her on her website: