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Talented and gifted students learning about music, the brain and creativity are part of public piano project at Iowa State University

June 24, 2016


Fifth- and sixth-graders in a "Neuroscience of Music" camp at Iowa State have begun painting this Yamaha console piano, located in the lower level of the College of Design's King Pavilion, as part of the Ames Public Piano Project. Seventh- and eighth-graders will complete the project next week. Photo by Jennifer Anderson.

AMES, Iowa — Fifth- through eighth-graders participating in a "Neuroscience of Music" camp hosted by the Iowa State University Office of Precollegiate Programs for Talented and Gifted (OPPTAG) are painting a piano this week and June 27-30 in the ISU College of Design's King Pavilion.

The camp is led by Patricia Izbicki, a doctoral student in the university's neuroscience interdepartmental graduate program. Participants are learning about the relationship between the mind and music/creativity, and the effects of music on the brain.

Ames Public Piano Project
As part of the camp, students are painting a Yamaha console piano for the Ames Public Piano Project, which aims to promote the joy of music making, advocate for the benefits of music on the brain, support the link between the arts and sciences and promote the cultural diversity of Ames and Iowa State, Izbicki said.

"The public piano movement has been gaining momentum for the last several years. Major cities all over the world, including Des Moines, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Paris and Toronto, have adopted public pianos in their communities," Izbicki said. "These pianos have brought much joy to residents as well as more exposure and interest in the arts. I believe public pianos will not only be received enthusiastically by residents of Ames but will also promote and enhance the visual and musical arts scene in Ames and at Iowa State."

This week, 12 fifth- and sixth-graders have begun painting the piano and bench, located in the lower level of the King Pavilion. Next week, four seventh- and eight-graders will complete the project, which is funded in part by an ISU Focus Artist Grant awarded through the Government of the Student Body.

When finished, the piano will be installed either at Tom Evans Plaza, 340 Main St., or Campustown Court at the corner of Welch Avenue and Chamberlain Street, Izbicki said.

The second week of the camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. June 27-30 at Carver Hall, Music Hall and the College of Design. For specific times the participants will be painting the piano at the College of Design, contact Izbicki; Kate Cossa, program assistant with Office of Admissions Early Outreach Programs, or Jennifer Anderson, College of Design undergraduate recruitment and marketing coordinator.

Patricia Izbicki, Neuroscience, (850) 712-6935,
Kate Cossa, Admissions Early Outreach Programs, (515) 294-3782,
Jennifer Anderson, Design Undergraduate Recruitment and Marketing, (515) 294-7415,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,