Another cloudy day on campus in the UK brings a slow trickle of students through the student center, where they are greeted by classical music played on the grand piano.
Samuel Johnson, a 12th grade student studying secondary education in English, shares warm melodies to take passers-by away from the overcast skies outside into a new world.
“Most of the time [I play] because I have time between classes,” Johnson said. “It’s something I like to do. A lot of things I play I already know, and it’s relaxing because I don’t even have to think about them.
Johnson’s audience enjoys the music while they take a break from their shift, eat their meals, or work on their laptop.
“I’d like to think I’m playing music that people like to hear,” Johnson said.
Calvin Rowe, a second-year accounting student, prefers studying at the student center to working somewhere else, partly because of the piano.
“I love that it’s such an open and active area,” Rowe said. “It’s nice to see such talented students in the student center, playing on the piano that is there.”
Some of the passing students turn their heads to recognize the player sitting at the piano, but needing to be somewhere, has no time to stop and listen.
Johnson doesn’t care about passers-by. Even when people leave the area, he remains hunched over the keys, pouring out Ludovico Einaudi’s musical instrument.
After Johnson leaves the piano bench, another student breaks the silence by sitting down to play.
Dubem Anikamadu, a senior public health and chemistry student, decided to play the piano for the first time a year ago.
“All the pianos I see, I sit down and try to play them,” Anikamadu said. “I also try to make music and bring some pop culture to this campus.”
In addition to sharing his own creativity, Anikamadu also helps creatives on campus by allowing them to use his home studio if they need a place to record their music.
“I’ve met so many new people through my own passion… When I start telling my stories and goals to other people, it seems like they get inspired too,” Anikamadu said. “That’s exactly what I want, bringing people together through music.”
With Anikamadu no longer at the piano, the student center once again falls into the gloomy silence that reflects the cloudy sky. All that remains are the occasional footsteps and conversations of passers-by in front of the grand piano waiting to be played again.