On tomorrow's episode of Take Me To Coffee, we are hanging out with classical pianist, composer and YouTuber AyseDeniz and holy cow were we inspired. Ayse's career has been incredible - from playing classical piano competitively at age 5, to almost quitting to catching the attention of Pink Floyd with a video mashup, she has been up, down and back around again and her story is a must-listen for anyone trying to build a life in the arts.
We got to talking about something I thought was really interesting - one of Ayse's fans sent in a #VideoAsk about how we can help promote the arts in rural areas. I thought it was a great question, and something I've actually been thinking about a lot lately.
A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with Adam Odsess-Rubin, the founder of The National Queer Theatre. We got to talking about the pros/cons of livestreaming stage work - while neither of us are huge fans of just plopping stage work on screen, we did find a lot of inspiration in the idea that livestreaming readings of work by queer authors, that explores queer themes could help expose kids in rural areas to a world bigger than theirs. To be able to see themselves represented, to be exposed to a deeper cannon of queer work and perhaps find inspiration from that access is really exciting, and it turns livestreaming stage work into an innovative way to get the arts into rural areas.
That reminded me of an amazing story I read about recently that involves one of my favorite composers and #Giveback Concert writers, Jason Howland. You can read the whole post here, but the gist is - a gal was in a public space in Montreal. She was charging her phone near a public piano when she heard someone hauntingly playing it. Turns out, it was a 15 year old kid from Tehran, Iran who had just immigrated to Montreal. His parents had given up everything for their new life, and that included a piano for their son to practice on at home. So, they would take him anywhere there was a public piano, where he could continue learning. This gal decided to put up a Facebook post looking for recommendations for piano teachers. Her post highlighted how a young Persian boy who loved playing jazz on piano and was mighty good at it had no piano to practice on. Enter Jason Howland. He saw the post. Did whatever magic he did. And this young boy ended up with a brand new high-quality Yamaha electronic piano with weighted keys, a stand and headphones.
Ayse talked a lot about access to instruments in our conversation - it seems to be a big barrier for people wanting to immerse themselves in the arts. We did a whole lot of brainstorming on the episode about ways around that. But it left me curious - how else can we be innovative and help get the arts into rural areas around the world?
Let us know your ideas in the comments -
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