Toy Piano Showcase

The Toy Piano Showcase on Tuesday 10 March offered the audience a light-hearted performance on toy instruments and the piano. Nearly 30 piano students from the Lower School to the Sixth Form took part in the concert, as did Sevenoaks Strings. The concert featured toy piano pieces composed by our students and arrangements for the toy piano.


The Pamoja Hall stage was decorated as a playground and each performance entered with a playful act: Sasha Stead riding onto stage on a toy car, the Clubb brothers’ slapstick as they played The Celebrated Chop Waltz, Mr Wey joining in the ritual of John Cage’s Suite for Toy Piano. The Toy Symphony, conducted by Sophie Westbrooke, Sehee Lim and Rachelle Lam, featured the use of unconventional instruments such as toy trumpet, drums, rattle, cuckoo, quail and nightingale. This three-movement homotonal symphony brought the night’s performance to an end delightfully.


In contrast to last year’s Historically Informed Performance, where pianists strived to play each piece as historically authentic as possibly on the fortepiano, this year’s showcase appreciated the joy in unrestrained engagement in music as a form of entertainment. This alternative perspective of music offered a sense of liberation to both music students and the audience in not seeking music authenticity and not submitting oneself to cultural hegemony. As Mr Wey suggested, ‘It is no more right to perform Bach on a Steinway grand piano than on a toy piano, since neither were invented in his time!’


It was a challenge adapting to the unfamiliar touch and sound of the toy piano in comparison to playing the ‘normal’ piano while sustaining as much discipline in producing good sound quality and shaping musicality through body movements. On the other hand, the process of making music on the toy piano has been extremely rewarding as we experience the importance of adaptability and joy in the carefree dimension of music.

Laura Lau

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