Chinese virtuoso Lang Lang to create ‘piano labs’ in UK schools | Schools

He is a Chinese superstar, a piano virtuoso who has sold millions of albums worldwide and regularly topped the classical charts. Lang Lang has also used his fame and fortune to help state schools that lack music, warning at a 2019 awards ceremony in London that such lessons had become “a real challenge” for children in communities. the most disadvantaged.

Now he is bringing music to UK public schools as part of an ambitious project that will set up state-of-the-art ‘piano labs’ across the country. Each laboratory will have 20 to 30 keyboards.

The program draws on its programs in the United States and China, in which it has invested tens of millions of pounds.

In the United States, he has set up piano labs in 86 schools, giving 70,000 children access to keyboards. In China, he installed them in 104 schools, allowing 110,000 children to make music. It is aimed primarily at students aged 7 to 12.

The first UK school to benefit is Winns Primary School in Waltham Forest, London’s 12th most deprived borough, where 53% of residents are from an ethnic minority background.

He will receive 30 keyboards in the coming weeks. Each lab is accompanied by a program created by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Lang Lang, with ongoing teacher training, grants and listeners, allowing for group piano lessons.

Lang Lang, who is on a world tour, is a virtuoso who performs with the best orchestras in the world. He has over 20 million social media followers and his album Piano Book became the best-selling classical album of 2019 worldwide, attracting over 170 million streams.

Believing that music “heals, unites and inspires, and that it makes us better people”, he has dedicated himself to education through the Lang Lang International Music Foundation and its Keys curriculum. of Inspiration.

When asked what inspired him to support UK schools, he told the Guardian: ‘We were able to identify many similarities between UK state schools and US state schools in terms of of how access to music and the arts can be extremely limited when budgets are cut… I was so surprised at how music lessons are never a guarantee. The schools and teachers are amazing 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.

Its foundation quotes the Greek philosopher Aristotle: “Music has the power to produce a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do so, it is clear that young people should be directed to music. and must be educated in it.

Oli Rose, the foundation’s global development director, said all the evidence showed that music can transform young lives, directly affecting behavior, general mood and self-confidence, adding: “We’ve seen how how powerful the program can be.”

In an online video, George Young, the principal of the Arthur Tappan School in New York, says Lang Lang’s program has had a “huge and positive effect”, with a 10-year-old boy describing the piano lab as “as a gift”. of God,” adding, “It keeps me out of trouble.

Rose said they were officially registering as a charity in the UK before “going full steam ahead”. “We have very big ambitions,” he added.

While the Department for Education claimed it had invested more than £620million in various music and arts education programs between 2016 and 2021, Mary Mycroft, head of music services at Waltham Forest, said expressed his hope that lives would be improved through Lang Lang’s support.

She said: “Current funding challenges mean that more and more schools and families are struggling to help young people fully experience a meaningful music education.”

Lang Lang said, “When I visit our partner schools and see the joy on the faces of the students or hear our teachers talk about the progress the students are making, it reminds me why we created this program – to give children the opportunity to discover what they are capable of achieving and to raise their voices through music.

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