Superstar pianist Lang Lang has announced that his International Music Foundation will set up “piano labs” in deprived UK state schools. Lang Lang said music lessons had become “a real challenge” for children in the most disadvantaged communities and was “shocked” at how access to music education can be so limited, which inspired him to bring his “piano labs” project to the UK. The piano tuition scheme is inspired by his programmes in the US and China, in which he has invested tens of millions of pounds and given 180,000 disadvantaged children access to keyboards.
The first UK school to benefit is Winns primary school in Waltham Forest, London, which will receive 30 keyboards.
Every “piano lab” is accompanied by a curriculum created by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Lang Lang, with ongoing teacher-training, grants and headphones, allowing group piano classes.
“It shocked me how access to music education can be so limited”
Lang Lang told The Guardian, “We were able to identify many similarities between state school in the UK and public school in the US in terms of the way access to music and arts can be extremely limited when budgets are cut … I was surprised at how music classes are never a guarantee. The schools and teachers are incredible, and are so dedicated to providing their students with everything they can. But it shocked me how access to music education can be so limited.”
Lang Lang believes, “Music makes life better. It heals, unites and inspires, and it makes us better people. Music is powerful. I want every child to have access to music experiences that ignite something wonderful inside of them, just as music delivered something incredible for me.”
All children should have access to music education
The Lang Lang International Music Foundation believes all children should have access to music education, regardless of their background. The foundation strives to educate, inspire and motivate the next generation of music lovers and performers.
Oli Rose, the global development director of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, said all the evidence showed that music could transform young lives, directly affecting behaviour, general mood and self-confidence.
Lang Lang explained, “When I visit our partner schools and see the joy on the students’ faces or hear from our teachers about the progress students are making, I’m reminded of why we created this programme – to give children an opportunity to discover what they’re capable of achieving and to lift up their voices through music.”
Superstar pianist Lang Lang, described by The New York Times as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”, has sold millions of albums around the world, topping classical charts and achieving simultaneous mainstream success. As a pianist, educator and philanthropist he has become one of the world’s most influential and committed ambassadors for the arts in the 21st century.
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