Tyler Thompson

A picture paints a thousand words. How would you assemble images and text to raise awareness of an upcoming event that is free to the public and gives you a taste of what it’s like to play piano and make music with others? What do you need to capture interest, ignite desire, and commit to participating in such an event?

This was the challenge given to the eight students of Harvey Reed’s Art 115 2D Design Project Class, using Adobe Photoshop and photos taken by Reed’s Art 107D Photo Class.

Numerous scientific studies have established universal benefits of learning a musical instrument, specifically the piano for adults. Some of these benefits include improved concentration and attention, stress relief, relaxation, memory enhancement, spatial task performance, linguistic capability, personal growth, enjoyment, aesthetic appreciation, musicianship, and fun.

Compared to other instruments, the piano is relatively easy for an adult to learn the basics quickly. It also has the largest repertoire of any instrument. Nowadays free sheet music for solo piano is readily downloadable from the Internet. Free tutorials on how to play popular songs are widely available on Youtube. This Internet Age of peer-to-peer sharing of music and tutorials has given a shortcut to learning an instrument, without having to start at an early age.

In a group situation, students can also learn from each other. The college format of group piano classes offers the adult learner a supportive social environment with peers to challenge and motivate. A group can provide a wider range of experience, discussion, critical listening, study of historical contexts, and collective decision making.

The traditional way of learning to play the piano is expensive for time-challenged and budget-conscious adults. Private, individual lessons on Maui range from $60 to $100 per hour. EdVenture is offering 3 consecutive evenings of 2-hour piano workshop for $144 including materials this August. UHMC offers a 2-credit piano class that meets once a week for 2.5 hours or twice a week 1 hour 15 minute each for 16 weeks. Residents pay $106 per credit, that is $212 per semester (total 16 weeks).

In December 2013, UHCC System awarded UH Maui College for the project “Piano Ensemble for Part Time Students” to develop a stronger network of support to meet the needs of part-time students by engaging students through music.

Through the grant, digital pianos have been purchased and placed at four locations outside of the piano classroom to allow students to practice in a conducive environment: The Learning Center (TLC), Laulima Room 105, Veterans Resource Center, and Lahaina Education Center. The posters are exhibited at the UHMC library and Kupa’a 104 until May 8th, 2014.

The free workshops on April 22nd and May 7th, 2014 are intended to give participants a taste of what it’s like to make music together — no prerequisites necessary. Most pianists never get to experience playing with other pianists or musicians, the way musicians in rock bands, chamber ensembles, and orchestras do. Digital pianos and music written for different levels make it possible to experience this collaborative music making in a room full of pianos.

Students (in alphabetical order by last name) of Art 115 2D Design Project Class (click to see poster):

For more information, visit http://maui.hawaii.edu/music

Forthcoming free events in Kupa’a 104:

  • Tuesday April 22nd, 2 – 3 PM piano workshop followed by student solo performances
  • Friday April 25th, 12:30 -1:15 PM lecture recital by Anne Ku “Music for the Earth”
  • Wednesday May 7th, 5 – 8:30 PM student solo and ensemble concert followed by piano workshop