He is a Chinese superstar, a piano virtuoso who has sold millions of albums worldwide and regularly topped the classic charts. Lang Lang has also used its fame and fortune to help state schools that lack music, and sounded warnings at an awards ceremony in London in 2019 that such lessons had become “a real challenge” for children in the most disadvantaged communities.
Now he is bringing music to British public schools in an ambitious project that will establish state-of-the-art “piano labs” across the country. Each lab will have 20 to 30 keyboards.
The scheme is inspired by his programs in the US and China, where he has invested tens of thousands of millions of pounds.
In the United States, he has set up piano labs in 86 schools, giving 70,000 children access to keyboards. In China, he has installed them in 104 schools, enabling 110,000 children to make music. This is primarily for students aged seven to 12 years.
The first British school to benefit is Winns Primary School in Waltham Forest, London’s 12th most vulnerable district, where 53% of the residents are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
It will receive 30 keyboards within the next few weeks. Each laboratory is accompanied by a syllabus prepared by the Royal Conservatory music in Toronto and Lang Lang, with ongoing teacher training, scholarships and headphones, allowing for group piano lessons.
Lang Lang, who is on world tour, is a virtuoso who performs with the world’s best orchestras. He has more than 20 million followers across social media, and his album Piano Book became 2019’s best-selling classic album worldwide, attracting more than 170 million streams.
In the belief that music “heals, unites and inspires, and that makes us better people”, he has dedicated himself to education through Lang Lang International Music Foundationn and his Keys of Inspiration curriculum.
Asked what inspired him to support British schools, he told the Guardian: “We were able to identify many similarities between public schools in the UK and public schools in the US in terms of the way access to music and the arts can be extremely limited when the budget is cut… I was so amazed at how music education is never a guarantee.The schools and teachers are incredible and are so dedicated to giving their students everything they can.But it shocked me how access to music education can be so limited. ”
His foundation quotes the Greek philosopher Aristotle: “Music has the ability to produce a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that young people must be led to music and must be educated in it. . “
Oli Rose, the foundation’s global development director, said all evidence showed that music could transform young people’s lives, directly influence behavior, general mood and self-confidence, adding: “We’ve seen how strong the program can be.”
In a online videoGeorge Young, principal of the Arthur Tappan School in New York, says Lang Lang’s program has had a “huge, positive effect,” with a 10-year-old boy describing the piano lab as “a gift from God.” adds: “It keeps me out of trouble.”
Rose said they officially registered as a charity in the UK before “going full steam ahead”. “We have very high ambitions,” he added.
While the Department for Education has claimed it invested more than £ 620m. in various music and art education programs between 2016 and 2021, Mary Mycroft, head of Waltham Forest’s music services, spoke about her hope that life would be improved through Lang Lang’s support
She said: “Current funding challenges have meant that more and more schools and families are struggling to support young people to fully experience a meaningful musical education.”
Lang Lang said: “When I visit our partner schools and see the joy in the faces of the students or hear from our teachers about the progress the students are making, I am reminded why we made this program – to give children an opportunity to discover what they are able to achieve and lift their voices through music. “