Pianos in the Street

An outdoor piano in the city streets. Someone can walk down the street in Prague when a piano catches their eye, seemingly from out of nowhere. They’ll pop a squat on the piano bench, play a song or two (sometimes followed by applause from bystanders) before getting back up and continuing on their merry way. It’s rather unusual to find a piano sitting outside or even inside at the train station. Maybe that's why it works so well, thanks to the nice contrast between what we're used to seeing and what catches us by surprise. Something we know from an interior context is juxtaposed with an outdoor environment. And perhaps then the anonymous space of the city becomes more “homey” and intimate to us.

And it’s really doing wonders. Sometimes a 9-to-5er will sit down at the piano on his way home from work, other times you’ll see your friendly neighbourhood garbage man, a homeless person, a policeman, or a small child sit down to play a tune. You just have to learn to let go of your shyness and not worry about embarrassing yourself in front of complete strangers.

Unfortunately, “Amélie” and Beethoven’s “Für Elise” are played all too often, but several people have already written to us that to inform us they’ve started learning to play the piano.

We started planting them around the city in 2013. During that time and thanks to a handful of other proactive people, more than forty pianos were planted. Now we take care of the piano locations at the Main Railway Station and Masaryk Railway Station, as well as both terminals at Prague International Airport (Letiště Václava Havla).