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Miami residence halls come to life with the sound of music

A musical trend has swept through Miami University’s residence halls. Recently, students living on campus have noticed their peers taking advantage of the pianos found in most dormitories.

Kira Boye, a first year pre-med biochemistry major who lives in Collins Hall, said there’s usually a continual sound of someone playing the piano because Collins houses a lot of music majors.

“It's pretty constant. You can go into the basement, you'll hear someone playing,” Boye said. “You'll go to the first floor, you'll hear someone playing. There's always someone playing.” 

One of these pianists is Artemis Vasquez, a first-year music composition major who also lives in Collins Hall.

“I play for three reasons,” Vasquez said. “One is that I take a functional piano class and usually record assignments [for it]. Second reason is as a composition major, I need to have an instrument to really hear out the music I'm writing, and then the third reason is just for fun.” 

And it’s not just music majors tickling the ivories.

“[I’ve seen] people that didn't know how to play,” Boye said. “They're trying to pick it up. So people can learn, people can just play and it's nice to hear it.”

News of the piano playing in dorm halls has even reached the classroom. Chyh Leng Low, a graduate student studying piano performance and currently teaching a piano class for non-majors, heard about the dorm hall pianists from her students.

Although these dorm hall musicians might be practicing, Low stressed how having the chance to perform is a really important motivator for musicians of any kind.

“We're playing music for people,” Low said. “So if they come and listen, that actually means a lot to us. Because they're supporting us. They exist to listen to our musical story.”

Though Vasquez appreciates the support of his audience, he appreciates the support from Miami more.

“[The pianos] show solidarity with musicians and [how Miami is] trying to make an effort to make music accessible to people,” Vasquez said.

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Vasquez also said that having easy access to a musical instrument made his transition into college much easier.

Currently, there are more than 20 pianos scattered around Miami’s residence halls. This easy access means that most students are never far away from a keyboard. Boye said that students who have any musical inclination should take advantage of it.

“If you have free time, and you have nothing to do, and you don't want to be on your phone all day, just go play the piano,” Boye said.

For those musicians who may feel nervous about playing in such a public place as the dorm hall common area, Vasquez has a few words of encouragement.

“Do it,” he said. “It's just a good experience, and it might bring people out more into common areas.”