Learning & Engagement
We champion piano to the widest possible audiences to enable everyone to discover and enjoy the piano. We work in partnership to trailblaze engagement with the piano locally, nationally, internationally and digitally.
Our Learning & Engagement programme is at the heart of The Leeds. We have a broad programme of activities which are inclusive, accessible and have pianos at their very core. We recognise and champion the unique role of the piano as the instrument which inspires and connects audiences. We create projects that enable people to discover and enjoy the piano,
to deepen their learning and to experience world class performance.
We have a collaborative and innovative approach to create real impact and raise the barre for piano-centred engagement internationally.
At The Leeds our community programmes are fun, diverse and inclusive and are designed to enable more people to discover and enjoy the piano.
During 2018 we opened the Competition up to visitors and residents of Leeds. We held a number of accessible performance in community settings with our 2018 Competitors and installed the World’s Smallest Concert Hall, a shipping container complete with baby grand piano in the city centre which hosted concerts, participatory activities and even piano lessons.
We also developed the Leeds Piano Trail with imaginatively decorated pianos placed in civic, cultural and retail spaces in Leeds which are available for public to play and enjoy. Many of the pianos still remain and alongside our colleagues at Leeds BID and University of Leeds we are delighted to be shortlisted for a CIPR Excellence Award – Arts, Sport and Culture – for establishing the piano trail.
During the Leeds Piano Festival 2019 we welcomed three exceptional young pianists from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation for a fortnight residency in Leeds and London.
We collaborated with schools and community venues to create 14 events including performances in a hospice,
hospital, schools and even out on the Leeds Piano Trail and reached over 4,000 who would not usually attend a classic music concert.
We partnered with Wigmore Hall Learning for the London leg of the visit and the Scholars also performed for audiences in LSO St Luke’s.
In Autumn 2019 we will launch our newest community programme: ‘Stories from M&S Sheet Music – Leeds’ Piano History’. We are partnering with Marks & Spencer Company Archive to explore their collection of historic sheet music and bring our local community into Leeds’ unique piano heritage.
Working with Leeds City Council Complex Needs provision a group of people living with dementia will explore pieces of music from the
diverse collection, and create their own accessible programme notes including creative responses to the music.
Their work and project findings will be displayed in a temporary exhibition at the archive, and we will take a specially curated piano performance to three care/community settings in Leeds to introduce even more people to the world of the piano. This project is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and we are very grateful for their support in making this happen.
Our creative projects are designed with teachers to enhance the curriculum whilst introducing children to the magic of the piano.
Piano Fantasia – Discover the Piano
On Thursday 28 March 1,500 Leeds school children aged 8-9 experienced Piano Fantasia – Discover the Piano in the iconic Leeds Town Hall. Now in our second year, this unique performance blends music, storytelling, audience participation, illustration and even a live camera stream in collaborative performance from pianist Will Pickvance and three Young Scholars from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.
The performances delves inside the piano, following its keyboard ancestry, meeting some of its most famous (and infamous!) composers, and experiencing iconic pieces along the way. We work with teachers and draw from both the Music and Science National Curriculum to ensure the performance is engaging and educational throughout.
Teachers told us:
‘It was lovely to hear and see live music. Most of our children had not experienced this before. They really enjoyed it and made links to the composers we have introduced in school. Thank you!’
‘What an inspiring concert!! It was so engaging for children and adults alike and I thought the ‘history of the piano’ segment was particularly informative and important, giving children exposure to different composers and the music they created!’
Alongside the performance we delivered workshops in schools exploring the Science of Sound through the engineering and magic of the piano, and all schools received pre and post event cross-curricular resources to deepen and extend their experience once back in the classroom.
We are now planning our 2020 Fantasia so get in touch if you’d like your schools to attend! The project is made possible by Royal Philharmonic Society, Sir George Martin Trust and Wade’s Charity for funding and supporting the work, as well as support in kind from our partners, Leeds City Council.
Skylar’s Missing Note
Our newest schools programme, Skylar’s Missing Note, will launch in schools in Autumn 2019. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Manic Chord Theatre to bring this innovative and unique performance to twenty schools in this specially designed Key Stage 1 performance for 5 – 7 year olds. The performance includes immersive storytelling and live piano performance to introduce pupils to the piano in a fun and engaging way.
This curriculum enhancing pieces is being co-designed with experts from Leeds Music Education Partnership who will also advise on an accompanying interactive workshop to further embed their learning of the inter related dimensions of music as they explore the world of the piano. We are very grateful to Leeds Music Education Partnership and Arts Council England for their support of this project which will reach over 1200 pupils.
The Leeds is proud of our role as advocates and champions for the piano. We help audiences delve deeper into the world of the piano to share its heritage, celebrate its impact today and research and safeguard its future. Piano + enhances and enriches audiences knowledge
and understanding of the instrument by offering talks, exhibitions, Masterclasses and more. We host events which inform, entertain and enlighten audiences as we continue to bring new perspective to the piano, its music and its people.