CSU’s public piano fills campus with spontaneous music


Sophomore Benito Encarnacion plays the piano outside the Lory Student Center March 28. “I took lessons as a kid,” Benito said. “Although I was never good at them, it has turned into a nice stress reliever.”

Callum Burke, Collegian Columnist

Warm weather is on the horizon in Fort Collins, and with that comes more time to relax outside and bask in the many delights sprinkled throughout campus.

Whether that be tossing around a frisbee on the vast green Intramural Fields or skateboarding outside the Lory Student Center, music is most likely to be played and heard — music that sums up the positive emotions of both the upcoming summer months and the sense of joy among students that school is soon concluding for the break.


Sure, music from a portable speaker is nice, and even wearing headphones and keeping to yourself is fine, but it is time to focus on the little things, like filling campus with spontaneous music.

The vibrantly colored piano perched outside the Lory Student Center between the Curfman Gallery and the bike racks by the library, a heavily trafficked spot for regular campus-goers, is the perfect place to begin praise.

Currently painted gray with revealing cracks of rainbow underneath, the piano is one of the best mediums for artistic expression throughout the community in two main ways. First, the physical piano changes design and color often thanks to students and artists within the community. Second, it gives students of all musical experiences and backgrounds the opportunity to brush up on their favorite songs and piano jingles or just relieve some stress and bang on the deepest sounding keys to express the emotions of failing an exam.

OK, not so much of the failed exam part, but the free piano is a beautiful culmination of campus and music coming together, and some students love the chance to play in front of their peers at no cost to show off their talents.

“I’ve played this piano a lot,” Colorado State University junior Anna Dean said. “I’m pretty good at it, so I like people to know.”

Dean started taking piano lessons at the age of 6 and now teaches youth when not studying or attending class. Dean, like many other piano players at Colorado State University, can’t help but stop by and at least check out the unique piano, if not play it for a minute or two when passing.

“I feel proud to play the piano because it is something that I have spent so long working on,” Dean continued.

Students such as Dean deserve more praise for expressing their years of musical knowledge and talents to the community, and instruments like the free piano are a step in the right direction. Nothing brightens up a person’s day quite like live music to complement birds chirping in the trees on a walk to class.

Not to mention, some people are not given the proper chances to pursue their musical endeavors, especially as college students trying to make ends meet, so to see examples of CSU gifting opportunities for these people to flourish is great to witness.

“I think it is awesome because it gives people who don’t have access to instruments elsewhere an opportunity to play,” Dean said. “I honestly play the piano on campus more than my own keyboard sometimes.”


It seems nothing bad comes from offering students the freedom to play the piano, and more could come out of opportunities like this at CSU, such as another piano located in a different place on campus.

Although not heavily utilized during the winter seasons as a result of the cold Colorado temperatures, it is already clear the warmer weather is bringing out the musicians around campus, and this piano is the center of it all. The next time you are on or around campus, stop by and play it for a little. Or if you’re lucky, listen; someone might be there to uplift your day with a serenading tune.

Reach Callum Burke at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @burkec0621.