A glimpse into the life of our pianomen

By Aaron Gordon.
The piano in the C Building Lounge offers students a chance to let off steam and display their musical talents while on break between classes. This piano brings together people from highly diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. On Wednesday, I found Peter Gan, an experienced piano player, teaching Marvin Taylor, a student without any formal training. While Gan said he started off taking lessons in classical music in the first grade, Taylor said he gained a feel for the piano on his mini keyboard at home. Rob Osterman, 21, is also a frequent visitor of the piano in the C Building. When introduced to the piano, he said he wasn’t interested because his mother forced him to take classes. However, once it was his own choice to play, he warmed up to the instrument. The confidence that it takes to play piano in such a public place attests to how positive and secure these individuals are, an observer could say. Despite Taylor’s lack of formal training, he said he feels just as passionate and confident about his musical abilities as Gan and Osterman are. Taylor said, “It makes me feel like I have another voice.” Everyday he’ll ask whoever is sitting at the piano if they can teach him anything they know. Gan and Osterman are occasionally at the piano to offer him any tips and listen to him play. Despite the students’ difference in musical preference, an observer could say they give one another the utmost respect and attention while playing the piano. While Gan can be heard playing hits like “Apologize,” by OneRepublic, Osterman often plays calming classical pieces from the Romantic Era. Taylor said, “When I get on the piano, I’ll really play anything I can.” Although classically trained, Gan said he gradually transitioned to contemporary music. “I liked classical. It sounded nice and complex, but I wanted to play stuff that was modern and that I listen to more frequently.” Some students have said the piano is a great way to put aside the stress of college life. Osterman used to play the piano for up to six hours a day when he was going through a difficult time. He said it helped him cope with what he was going through. Despite the piano’s public setting, an observer could say the musicians who play in the C Building Lounge are humble. They have said they play piano simply because they love the way the instrument sounds. Despite Gan’s love for the piano, he said he can’t see himself playing for anyone else. “I’m not a fan of performing,” said Gan, “I get nervous.” Osterman has said he holds great respect for the expression that music possesses. “It’s a different language. You’ve got English, and then you got music, just the same.” Students who aren’t in the music department could find the C Building Lounge piano is a great way to have music still be a part of their school day. Neither Gan, Osterman, or Taylor are taking any music classes at BCC. Gan and Taylor, both of whom have keyboards at home, said they cherish the opportunity they get to play an acoustic piano at school. The lounge’s piano carries a great deal of age. It is worn out and somewhat out of tune.