1. Identify your comfort zone

    Ask: What would it take for me to be outside my comfort zone?

  2. Shrink the project so it is ‘reasonable & achievable’

    Do a smaller version of a big idea so you can realistically achieve something within the next 12 weeks

  3. Add something special that makes everyone smile

    Make it fun and leave a lasting impression on the people who attend.

Our natural response to the act of stepping outside our comfort zone is fear. But something special happens when we challenge ourselves to embrace this fear and do something amazing! We call this ‘art’ and it doesn’t have to be something big. #MyPianoProject is all about taking small risks that leave a lasting impact.
— Timothy Barnes, Founder of #MyPianoProject

ideas for College Students

Projects will be judged on their creativity, execution, and the extent to which the pianist pushed themselves to new levels

For Adult Musicians

Most adult musicians are not professional pianists. And as a kid they either loved (or hated) piano lessons. The projects that will challenge you to step outside your comfort zone are going to be unique to you, your past experiences, and current skill set.

TIPS: The goal is to help you find something that will motivate you to push yourself to a new level and then share your musical art with others. Here are some ideas to help you think outside the box.

Music Selection Ideas

Ask: What would it take for me to challenge myself musically?

Learn new music (or a new genre of music)

Learn a rhythmically challenging piece of music

Learn a long(er) piece of music. Perhaps the full score from a movie soundtrack.

Learn a greater quantity of easy music (15 easy songs instead of 3 hard ones).

Take a piece they already know and learn to sing while playing the piano

Perform a duet or trio with another friend/sibling who plays an instrument.

Accompany a vocalist, dancer, or solo musician (This is an incredibly valuable skill that is exceedingly challenging to learn)

Memorize a piece of music you have performed before. For some musicians performing a piece from memory is 2x harder than reading the music. And it utilizes different parts of the brain to achieve.

Sight read a new piece of music in front of a group of people

Take requests from the people who rsvp and learn the music for the performance

Write their own music and debut it to their friends

Learn Jazz Improvisation and perform some Jazz Standards

Form a trio/quartet. Playing with groups of people is challenging is you have never done it before.

…be creative. Do something amazing!

Performance Ideas

Ask: What kind of event would challenge me on a performance level?

Host a ‘music party’ for peers (keep inviting people until you are outside their comfort zone)

Host a ‘music party’ for other musicians. Nothing is more challenging than playing for people who know when you are making a mistake. At the same time nothing is more encouraging because everyone has been there before. It is about pushing yourself to new limits and sharing your musical art with others.

Play a difficult song from memory

Play ____ hours of background music for a restaurant or party. Be prepared to take requests.

Go for perfection (#MyPianoProject does not require perfection but this is a great way to challenge yourself)

Sight read new music in front of a group of friends. Tell everyone to bring an song so you can try to sight read it:)

Emcee The Event (Learning how to engage the audience is equally as important as giving the performance)

Go for impact. Find a public piano and keep playing until you make 100 people smile:)

Find a way to serve disadvantaged people with your music. Teach lessons, show up at a nursing home to give an afternoon of music while engaging the audience that forms. Take requests and be prepared to perform popular music from 3-4 decades ago.

…be creative! Do something amazing!

Timeframe Ideas

Ask: What date over the next 12 weeks works best to do my project?

Doing something smaller in a shorter timeframe can be equally as challenging as doing something difficult over a longer time frame. We created short 12-week award cycles so pianists can build up to larger and larger projects with each one they do. There is no limit to how many times a student can qualify so the incentive is there for you to choose a project that is both challenging & attainable within the next 12 weeks.

Amazing things happen when people show up for an event and an artist stands up and says “I challenged myself to do _____ within _____ weeks and this is the result…”

Examples of Timeframe Challenges:

Put a concert together in the next 5 weeks

Learn a new piece of music and memorize it within the next ____ weeks

Write a new song within the next ____ weeks

Learn a difficult piece of music at an acceptable level within the next ____ weeks.

…be creative. Do something amazing!

Adding the ‘You Factor’

The best #MyPianoProjects combine different elements of stepping outside our comfort-zone into a single event. But there is usually a dominate theme (IE - playing in front of people is the BIG challenge being addressed, memorizing complex music in ____ weeks, etc…). Projects will be judged on their creativity, execution, and the extent to which the pianist pushed themselves to new levels. We simply want to inspire pianists of all ages to step outside their comfort zone and share their musical art with others.

By combining piano + your life’s passion… it makes things more fun and you end up mixing two things that don’t naturally mix. This in and of itself is a form of art and is encouraged. Be creative, do something amazing.

Incorporating Facebook Live & Social Media

#MyPianoProject is about real people, gathering around a real piano, and creating a memorable moment. If you decide to use social media in any aspect of your project it should be ‘in addition too’ the local live component and have a ‘specific purpose’.

For Example:

- Invite your extended family who live out of town to join you in your live performance as one of the audience members.

- Pick up the phone, talk to people in person, send a written invitation in the mail (and then use Social Media to remind everyone of their RSVP + build anticipation as the even approaches)

- Use Facebook Live as an easy way to record your event + share it with others in the community.

- Use discretion. Doing things in front of a camera is almost second nature in the Internet / Social Media age, so only using it as an element of “look I challenged myself to do a facebook live performance” isn’t going to be enough to qualify. However, saying “Look, I wanted to do ________, and I knew I could reach 5 people locally + 15 extra local family members online…” is a more appropriate use of Facebook Live. We encourage you to be creative, but also use discretion.