March 29th is the International Piano Day. It’s an annual worldwide celebration of the Piano, the most versatile musical instrument, piano music, pianists and everything that revolves around it. Conspicuously, it is celebrated on the 88th day of the year because the piano has 88 keys.
These Nigerian pianists began the first local initiative in a MUSON sponsored piano-related project called a Piano Showcase featuring Nigerian Pianists in a series of pre-recorded videos and performance clips their talent, personality and musical journeys as pianists.
Founder & Curator of Piano Day Nigeria, Taiwo Baju-Adesuyi tells BellaNaija the story behind the initiative.
I had the idea for the Piano Showcase in the first few days of 2019 and while thinking around the concept, I discovered the International Piano Day, a relatively new annual celebration (only since 2015) set aside on the 88th day of every year. The ‘Piano Showcase on the International Piano Day was borne and I spent the next three months curating this project for Nigeria’s first participation in Piano Day. I was very lucky to have met with the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON)’s MD, Ayo Jafojo who along with the board of MUSON graciously agreed to sponsor Piano Day providing and technical advisory on musical matters. Securing MUSONs sponsorship and support was crucial, as MUSON and it’s School of music is at the forefront of music education in Nigeria. Every pianist featured in Piano Day celebrations has passed through MUSON in some way or the other. MUSON’s excellent School of music is part of the musical heritage of many classically trained Nigerian musicians today.
My main goal for the Piano Day Showcase was to share the beauty of piano music and ensure it is as wide-reaching as possible in Nigeria which is why I decided to go the digital route. I worked with other talented pianists for our video recording recital series; Babatunde Sosan, Resident Pianist at MUSON (The highest post for a pianist in Nigeria, if you will) and my long-time friend who ‘discovered me’ back in Queens College; Korede Omopoloye, who is an excellent Pianist and Teacher; Tosin Ajayi who has shown great virtuosity and deep musicality as a Pianist and Organist and finally Ludmila Oresanya, an extremely skilled Russian-Nigerian pianist who has taught music and piano for several decades. We hope this series of short performance videos that will inspire more people (parents and children alike) to learn the piano.
One of my mantras I live by is this: ‘There has to be more to you than the work you do’ Who are you outside of your job title/business and family title (someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother) For me, I find that playing the piano is the single most important that has enriched my life. It is more than just a hobby, it is a fulfilling and challenging passion and I believe my journey as a classical music pianist has greatly shaped me into who I am today. In my experience, I have found It enriches you as a person in so many ways. One of the biggest benefits I have derived is the discipline it instills in you. This is why it is particularly useful for children. The only way to learn an instrument is to practice regularly- almost daily. Even the discipline and hard work required, first, just to get a sound out of the instrument, then a decent sound, then a nice sound, then learning all of the musicianship involved – that whole process, extending throughout a good portion of your life instills valuable life lessons.
Becoming a pianist has actually taught me to become more resilient. When I’m faced with challenging tasks, I always recall when it was impossible to play two hands together on the piano and now it’s something I do with the same ease as breathing. Looking back, I realize that this experience develops a certain drive and tenacity in a person, you’ll approach life with the outstanding quality of self-belief, knowing that anything you out decide to do can be done – these are the same qualities that have shaped my career and entrepreneurial mindset.
With Piano day celebrations, I hope to continually promote the artistic and creative narrative of Nigerians. I am very grateful to our sponsors for supporting and promoting this project, I have more than anything come away with the renewed belief that if you have an idea worth sharing, the support can come in so many ways.
P.S: Watch out for dates on the Lagos Piano Club page on Instagram
Happy International Piano Day and Happy Women’s Month!
This content has been published for free as part of BellaNaija.com‘s commitment to youth, education, healthcare and community development as part of our corporate social responsibility programme