Play it forward at The Mitchell
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Play it forward at The Mitchell

27/04/2017
Ever fancied getting your hands on a Grand piano? Well, now you can tinkle the ivories at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library as Glasgow Piano City and Glasgow Libraries give you the opportunity to play the fantastic Daneman Concert Grand piano in the splendour of The Mitchell’s Glasgow Room.

The 'Lids Open Day', on Thursday (April 27th) also celebrates the launch of Glasgow Piano City’s pilot scheme to provide free piano practise time for asylum seekers and those living in financial difficulty, in the music carrels of The Mitchell Library, through their new 'Play it Forward' initiative.

Thomas Binns, Project Co-ordinator Glasgow Piano city, explains: "I have been using the piano practice rooms at the Mitchell for over 30 years. They are an invaluable resource to have in the city centre. Especially at times when I have not had a piano at home to practice on, the pianos in the Mitchell have been something of a musical lifeline."  

Funded by donations, the 'Play it Forward' pilot scheme will initially provide 60 hours of free practise time for a small number of people who would otherwise be unable to access a piano regularly. The rehearsal time in The Mitchell Library is intended to compliment free piano tuition that Glasgow Piano City also aim to offer more widely with support from grant funding, project income and public donations. Those interested in supporting this scheme and the project in general can find out more at www.glasgowpianocity.org.

One of the students set to benefit from the scheme is 31 year old Ali Salim, a Somalian asylum seeker raised in Yemen.

Ali said: “I love the piano, but back in Yemen pianos didn’t really exist so rather than play the music I’d try to listen to songs when I could. I heard about the piano lessons through a friend, and after I started learning I was desperate to be able to practice. 

“I’m learning, so I don’t want to have to practice in public and that’s why I love being able to play the piano at The Mitchell – it’s private and nice and quiet so I can concentrate.”

Alongside the Glasgow Piano City 'Play it Forward' scheme and the next Lids Open Day, intended to be one of an ongoing series of events, the Mitchell Library offers musicians the opportunity to practice their own instruments within the five music carrels during library opening hours.

Andrew Olney, Head of Libraries and Communities, Glasgow Life, said: “Hundreds of people use our music carrels every year to practise all kinds of instruments from chanters and tubas to guitars and cellos. 

“Members of the public while away their lunch breaks in front of the pianos, and I’m delighted that this partnership with Glasgow Piano City means that we are able to support even more people of Glasgow, regardless of their socio or economic background, to escape from the stresses and strains of modern life with a few moments in front of the piano.”

Whilst the students from Glasgow Piano City will be able to rehearse for free, members of the public can use the music carrels to practise their own instruments for £1.50/hour, or play the pianos for £3.50/hour - £1.75/hour concessions - during library opening hours. Carrels are available for use on a first come first served basis.

The Mitchell Library’s extensive collection of sheet music, orchestral and vocal scores from a wide range of genres including blues, folk, rock and show tunes are also available, alongside learn to play guides, for library members to use within the library or borrow for use at home, within music societies, schools or colleges.

Music fans can also view the extensive Kidson collection of 18th and 19th century British music, Moody Manners Opera Company Archive and the STV collection from the 50s, 60s and 70s in The Mitchell’s Special Collections.

And for those keen to listen to artists talk about their music, either at home or in the library, Glasgow Library members can access Rock’s back pages archive of music journalism, featuring more than 300 conversations with some of the finest musical talents of our time, including Elvis Presley, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell and Kurt Cobain.

There are still some places left available if you fancy coming along and playing the Daneman on Thursday 27th April, or you’re keen to find out more about the Glasgow Piano City 'Play it Forward' scheme, please visit www.glasgowpianocity.org 

 And to find out more about what’s on offer at The Mitchell Library, please visit www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries 

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