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I've been to the Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last year and had some fun on a piano in their lobby with a sign saying "Play me, I'm yours". I did some research and found a pretty cool project called Street Pianos. They basically put pianos in public places all around a city for a limited time and invite everyone to play them. The one at the Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame was kept after the event in Cleveland finished.

There are some new cities scheduled for 2016, but unfortunately nothing near my upcoming trip (L.A., New Mexico and Texas). What would be my best options to find a piano somewhere, that I can play for a couple of minutes (free or paid)? The idea is to record a short clip in an interesting setting on a nice piano. I'm no professional musician, but I think I'm decent enough not to annoy people or destroy an expensive instrument. It's not the number one priority on my trip, but something I'd love to do, if there's a chance. Do you have any ideas - for my specific trip, but also in general?

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    if you happen to travel to France some day, many big train stations have some, which are popular – Vince Jan 1 '16 at 11:46
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    Wow, that's nice! Thanks for the info, I'll check them out soon. – martin Jan 1 '16 at 14:37
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    If you make it up to Portland, there's a program every summer to place pianos around the city: pianopushplay.com/pianos – Julian Feb 6 '16 at 20:36
  • Thanks, Julian! Sounds like another good reason to visit Portland! – martin Feb 7 '16 at 11:07
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    Note that you may want to double-check previous Street Pianos locations, as in some instances, the pianos are still there. For instance, there are still 3 Street Pianos in St Pancras station in London (and more in a few other locations in London), even though they were originally planned just for 2012. This is stated on the Street Pianos page for that city. They don't say anything about remaining pianos in Austin or LA though :-( – jcaron Feb 17 '16 at 10:22
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+100

Public Pianos Worldwide

Placing pianos in public spaces has become increasingly popular over the past years, to the point that it's hard to pinpoint who did it first and why. Arguably, the most well-known project is Street Pianos, however this is definitely not the only project. Indeed, private local organisations, city councils, public park authorities, railway companies, and many others have joined in this practice across the world.

The projects are so extensive and localised at the same time, both permanent and temporary, that your question might actually be too broad for Travel SE. The web is scattered with pages on the topic, and maps of pianos. However there is no guarantee that the installations might still be there in the future. It is worthy to note that most outdoor pianos are taken out during the summer and stored away during the rest of the year. Nevertheless, maps are indeed available, therefore I'll summarise my findings nonetheless.

Street Pianos - Worldwide

Street Pianos has been running the Play Me I'm Yours project since 2008, adding and relocating pianos in various cities across the world. Quoting from their website:

Who plays them and how long they remain on the streets is up to each community.

Street Pianos provide a global map of currently available pianos, which can be found here. To date, the project covers 15 cities in the USA.

Piano! Push Play! - Portland, Oregon

Piano! Push Play! is another project, which places pianos in public spaces during the summer, and puts those pianos away in schools and community centres where people can play them throughout the year. The project was born in Portland, Orgeon, and to date this seems to be the only they cover.

The best way to locate the pianos is to use the dedicated app, which shows a map of available instruments. The pianos will also contact you, via the app, when you find yourself close enough to one of them. Alternatively, there is a project webpage detailing all the pianos which you can browse for detailed information.

The Sing for Hope Pianos - New York City

Sing For Hope is a charity who runs a public pianos project in New York City for two weeks during the summer. After which the pianos are donated to local community-based organisation. In 2015, 88 pianos were made available in 5 boroughs across the city. It is likely that the project will run again in 2016, and a map will be rendered available online in due course.

Pianos In Public Spaces - San Diego

The San Diego Symphony rung a public piano project in San Diego. In 2016, from FRIDAY, January 8 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 8 public pianos, whose location can be found on the map here, were made available.

And Many More

Finally, if none of the projects above cover your needs, try querying your favourite search engine for public pianos YYY, where YYY is the city you will be travelling to, to see if local YYY organisations have a public piano project running.

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