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Manchester City's Nathan Aké launches music education initiative “Playing for Change” – News

Manchester City footballer Nathan Aké has teamed up with Casio to launch a new music education initiative called ‘Playing For Change’.

Playing For Change is a “groundbreaking fundraising project” aimed at improving music education in disadvantaged schools and colleges across the UK.

The pilot program was launched in February with the donation of ten Casio pianos to six schools in Manchester. Aké personally delivered the pianos to East Manchester Academy, which is located in “one of the poorest areas of the city.”

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The initiative is now being expanded across the UK with the aim of donating two Casio pianos every month for a year to disadvantaged schools and colleges across the country.

Aké, who plays for both Premier League club Manchester City and the Netherlands national football team, is a self-taught piano player, having learned to play during the COVID lockdowns.

He points to the “improved mental well-being and concentration” that learning the piano brings and explains: “Every child deserves the chance to experience the gift of music, regardless of their background.”

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“Learning to play the piano during lockdown was a revelation for me,” he says. “It gave me a sense of calm and focus during a difficult time, and it continues to bring me joy and help me de-stress, especially between games.”

Pianos are supplied to schools that need instruments to give them access to music that “historically has been largely limited to children from wealthy families.”

The program is designed to provide benefits such as developing social skills, discipline, patience and self-confidence and to give a head start in establishing a music career.

Educational institutions registered in the UK can apply for the programme here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's deputy editor. Follow her on Twitter.