Pianos gifted as instruments of creativity

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, also Minister for Arts, has overseen the gifting of two pianos to Kowhai Intermediate School in Auckland.

They are the final two pianos of the 100 Piano Project by Play It Strange.

Parent and community member Kawana Pihama says the idea is "to encourage young minds to pursue other educational pathways, to enter into music where they possibilities are limitless.”

Mike Chun of the band Split Enz started Play It Strange because of his belief in the power of music and desire to share that with children.

“The piano is the great launching instrument in life.  I started when I was eight, and all of a sudden songs came into my world because you can do the backing like a guitar would but that's all it can do, and then you play the tune,” says Mike Chun.

100 piano have been gifted to schools throughout NZ through the initiative by Play It Strange which aims to enable students' creative pathways within education through music.

“Songs evolve out of your experience and your adventures on the piano that's what I found.  So I think that it'll catch on someone will write a song perform it at a show, kids watching will be empowered and inspired and go 'yeah, I want to do that too',” says Chun.

Parents and teachers of Kōwhai Intermediate are grateful for the new gifts.

Kawana Pihama says, “The hope is that if they are introduced into music, we may see the next Chopin, or Mozart,  or Tchaikovsky, or Mike Chun."

Ardern is encouraging Play It Strange to gift ukulele next year.