Category Archives: Music and Wellness

FPF World Tour, Part 8: Hong Kong 1

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For a while, I wasn’t sure if I should go to Hong Kong. There was a lot to figure out. Would the timing work with my stop in New York? Was it worth the expense? What would be the best use of my time there when I arrived?

However, I did want to meet our two new technicians: Macho and Neway. They contacted me over a year ago to get involved with FPF, and we’ve been working to get them set up in Hong Kong ever since. I figured that by going to visit, I could better determine what our approach should be for this area.

On top of that, I’ve been trying to spend more personal time with my co-workers, and to get to know people better in general. Macho’s family was kind enough to offer me a place to stay, so I decided to go for it. I booked a flight from NYC to Hong Kong.

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Filed under Ambassador Program, FPF World Tour, Music and Wellness, Piano Stories

FPF World Tour, Part 4: Lima

The streets of Lima

It was finally time for me to depart from Arequipa.

My destination was Cartagena, which was the best option for a connecting flight to New York. Originally, I’d had grand plans of how I’d get there: I could take a train through Equador, stopping at hostels along the way, or I could climb aboard a river boat in the Amazon and wind through rainforests en route to Colombia. But after all my visits and adventures preparing to leave Peru, I was now a few days behind schedule. I’d have to go straight to Lima, where I could hop a flight directly into Cartagena.

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Filed under Ambassador Program, FPF World Tour, Lima, Music and Wellness, Piano Stories

Gratitude and Appreciation

Arches and

While staying at la Casa de Melgar I met a painter, accompanied by a group of unusual tourists. This painter takes travelers on tours throughout the world, showing them how to document their experiences through artwork: instead of snapping photos, they paint pictures.

He discussed with me how you can have a richer sense of a place if you take the time to sit and paint it. You’re there for an extended period of time, and can watch the scene change as the hours pass. For example, he had just come from Cuzco where he had been painting the Plaza de Armas over several days’ sessions. Just before he finished his last sitting, a group of school children arrived, and they formed two rows as they waited for some activity. The geometry of it was such a perfect addition to the scene already in process—so he quickly sketched them into the piece before they dispersed.

The experience of a place is never captured in one photo, one video, one conversation, or one story. A memory lives with depth in time, space, and levels of awareness.

You don’t know what will come into frame if you take that extra time to watch and listen.

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Filed under Ambassador Program, Arequipa, Creativity, Music and Wellness, Music Practice, Piano Action, Piano Maintenance, Piano Repair

The Currency is Joy

Hotel decorations

For the month of March I’ve been living in and exploring a hotel directly across the street from the Centro Cultural. Staying here at la Casa de Melgar has not only made it easier to prepare for the concert and keep up with my work at the CC, it’s turned out to be an adventure all of its own.

Some hotels here are absolutely magical. The rooms and hallways are dotted with antique artifacts, desks, grand wardrobes, and ornate ceramic tiles. Garden spaces feature sillar walls of deep blue and ochre, draped with a vibrant array of hanging flowers. Among all this, neglected but charming pianos await discovery, and new friends with rare stories come out of the woodwork. I will show you the magic of these places. I will tell you of a fascinating cafe owner who was manufacturing bombs but discovered a latent urge to instead manufacture hand-made pasta. I also mixed with a far-flung group of archaeologists who experience the quiet joy of handling the objects that the ground has kept for us to discover—and which add to the story of who we are.

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Filed under Ambassador Program, Art/Science, Learning about Pianos, Music and Wellness, Peru, Piano Action, Piano Maintenance, Piano Repair, Science

Traveling Through Tacna, Part Three

tacna3-seating

There’s a lot happening right now surrounding the upcoming elections in the US. I think about the potential each candidate has to shape the world. I think about what kinds of effects each of them might facilitate at home and abroad. I also wonder what Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump were like as children. How does a child grow to affect the world in the ways that they can?

I’ve become connected with two non-profit organizations that are working to fight poverty and economic disparity in Peru: Intiwawa and HOOP. The thing I really love about them is the specific approach they take to tackle the problem: they focus on providing educational resources to children. Considering the focus on wealth inequality in this election cycle, it seems appropriate think about the future we are setting up for poor kids in this world.

In the midst of all this, I recently across the story of a political figure from long ago, a fascinating person I’d never learned about before: Simón Bolívar. There was a grand painting of him on the wall at the Regional Museum of History in Tacna, and beneath it I found a summary of his life. Here’s an excerpt:

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Filed under Ambassador Program, Music and Wellness, Peru, Piano Action, Piano Maintenance, Piano Repair, Piano Stories, Videos

Can Taking the Subway Give You Hearing Loss?

Hearing Loss Campaign Musicians Piano Tuning Brooklyn NYC SubwayThe answer is a resounding YES. But can you really do such serious damage in just a quick commute? Again, yes. Actually, hearing loss can occur in as little as 30 minutes in the NYC subway, according to a study conducted by Columbia University.

Both the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) recommend that in a 24-hour period, the average noise level a person is exposed to should not exceed 70 dB. However, the average noise levels measured across all forms of NYC public transit exceeded this value, with the MTA subway being the worst offender.

The noise on subway platforms can pose a serious threat, with about half of the maximum noise levels measured hitting 90 dB or above, and the highest reaching 102.1 dB. While the noise inside of subway cars measured at slightly lower levels, the prevalence of earbuds and headphones—with music often turned up in order to be heard above the train noise—can actually put additional strain on ear drums.

Given that the NYC subway sees an average 5.5 million riders per day, it seems an astounding number of us might encounter hearing loss in the future.

The good news is that hearing loss from subway and bus noise can be prevented by wearing ear plugs—one of the study’s recommendations. That’s precisely the inspiration behind a campaign recently launched by Floating Piano Factory (FPF). Over the next few weeks, FPF technicians will be passing out 1000 free pairs of earplugs.

“As a piano tuner and musician, I have to be conscious of damaging my ears,” says Janney, lead technician at FPF and committed earplug user. “But nobody benefits from losing their hearing. It would be great to help raise awareness of the issue.”

You can find Eathan, Mike, and Isaac—all piano technicians with FPF—handing out small envelopes of free earplugs throughout the NYC public transit system as they travel between piano tunings. As a bonus, the envelopes are marked with a 10% off discount code for tuning services.

What do you think of this campaign? Did you receive one of the envelopes? Share your story on the FPF facebook page, or via twitter or email (floatingpiano [at] gmail [dot] com).

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