Play it Forward Singapore is a homegrown public piano movement launched by three piano nerds in September 2015.
The idea first came about when we heard about the large number of old pianos being thrown away every year. Many people we know love to play the piano, but stopped doing so for various reasons. Hundreds of neglected pianos are gathering dust in homes across Singapore right now. At the same time, there are some among us who cannot afford to own a piano or do not have access to this instrument.
So we thought, why not rescue these unwanted instruments and share them with everyone?
We wanted people to love playing music again, so we decided to place these pianos in public spaces as public instruments that anyone can play on anytime. But what if these pianos can look interesting too? We collaborated with local artists and designers to transform old pianos into public art pieces, while remaining as functional instruments that are a joy to play on.
As musicians ourselves, we are particular about the sound quality of the old pianos and will do everything we can to make sure that everyone enjoys playing on them in a location with good acoustics. We hire professionals to tune all our public pianos, and sometimes we ourselves give it a go at repairing the hammers and strings!
Till today, we have restored more than 20 pianos into public art installations which were donated to needy beneficiaries after the public run. Our public pianos have since traveled to more than 16 locations in the city and played by thousands of people since.
We have seen people whose faces lit up with a smile when a friend sits down to play a tune, musicians who now have a place to practise and perform, urban spaces transformed into places for interaction and bonding, and numerous videos of beautiful performances on the street by musicians and curious onlookers. It makes our day when we see people gathering around the pianos and enjoying the music in the Singapore city.
We have successfully completed our fourth edition of public pianos in the city and preparing for our latest edition commencing in April 2017. Check out more about the pianos here. Play It Forward Singapore was commended by the Ministry of Culture, Community, Youth and Sports (MCCY) “Our Singapore” campaign as one of the “ideas that are changing Singapore” in 2016.
We cannot wait to do more and bring together more people in this movement of giving, collaborating and sharing the joy of music in our lion city.