A day in the life of the UK student center piano


Norman Chan, a second-year psychology major, plays the piano in the Gatton Student Center on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Katie Hall

Another cloudy day on UK’s campus brings a slow trickle of students passing through the student center, where they’re greeted by classical music being played on the grand piano.

Samuel Johnson, a senior studying secondary English education, shares warm melodies to take those passing through away from the overcast skies outside into a new world. 

“Most of the time [I play] because I have time in between classes,” Johnson said. “It’s something I like to do. A lot of the stuff that I play, I already know, and it’s relaxing because I don’t even have to think about it.” 

Johnson’s audience enjoys the music as they take a break from their shift, eat their meals or work on their laptops. 

“I’d like to think that I play music that people enjoy hearing,” Johnson said.

Sophomore accounting major Calvin Rowe prefers to study in the student center rather than working in another location, partly because of the piano.

“I like that it’s such an open and active area,” Rowe said. “It’s nice to see students that are that talented in the student center, playing on the piano that’s out there.”

Some of the students who pass by turn their heads to acknowledge the player sitting at the piano, but needing to be somewhere, don’t have time to stop and listen.

Johnson doesn’t mind the passersby. Even as people leave the area, he stays bent over the keys, pouring music by Ludovico Einaudi out from the instrument. 

After Johnson leaves the piano bench, another student breaks the silence by sitting down to play.

Dubem Anikamadu, a senior studying public health and chemistry, decided to play piano for the first time a year ago. 

“Any piano I see, I just sit down and try to play it,” Anikamadu said. “I’m trying to make music as well and bring some pop culture to this campus.”

In addition to sharing his own creativity, Anikamadu also helps creative people around campus by letting them use his home studio if they need a place to record their music. 

“I’ve met so many new people through my own passion … When I start telling my stories and my goals to other people, it seems like they get inspired too,” Anikamadu said. “It’s exactly what I want, to bring people together through the music.”

With Anikamadu no longer on the piano, the student center once again falls back into the gloomy silence that reflects the cloudy sky. All that remains are the footsteps and occasional conversations from the people passing by the grand piano that waits to be played again.