Donated Yamaha P-155 Keyboard Helps Wounded Warriors 'Adjust To A New Reality'

6/10/2011 [Pianos & Keyboards]

Easy-To-Use Keyboard Offers Injured Combat Veterans Happier, More Productive Lives

The Yamaha P-155 Keyboard.

BUENA PARK, Calif. – Yamaha recently donated a P-155 keyboard to Musicorps, a rehabilitative music program for injured combat veterans, for use in a high tech physical therapy center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Musicorps is provided by Renovation In Music Education (RIME), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping people, arts organizations and communities succeed through innovative arts partnership programs. RIME provides extraordinary opportunities to populations in need and transforms their lives in the process.

According to RIME and Musicorps founder Arthur Bloom, "This helps us work with injured service members who might not otherwise have access to this type of instrument. Having the P-155 in this state-of-the-art physical therapy center is a tremendous thing on many levels."

Musicorps began when Bloom was invited to visit a soldier recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The soldier, a musician who had been badly injured by an improvised explosive device, was concerned about the effects of his injuries on his ability to play music. In conversations with Bloom, the soldier expressed his pain and frustration. The seed of an idea then quickly took root and enthusiasm for a music program spread.

With the backing of his organization, Bloom developed Musicorps, an intensive music rehabilitation program that helps injured combat veterans recover their lives. The program replicates "real world" music relationships so that injured veterans work on, and are motivated to work on, robust goal-oriented projects many hours a day. It integrates individualized projects, regular visits by highly accomplished musicians and the use of specially-assembled computer-based music workstations along with traditional instruments. Working in any musical style they prefer, veterans are able to learn, play write, record and produce original material.

According to Bloom, a composer whose varied background includes attendance at The Juilliard School and a literature degree from Yale University, early experimentations centered on helping the soldier play drums using a prosthetic leg, but quickly expanded to a variety of musical endeavors.

"With extraordinary advances in battlefield medicine, wounded warriors are able to survive increasingly severe injuries. However, facing long and difficult periods of recovery, what can be years at Walter Reed, there's a real need for meaningful, productive activity outside of medical appointments. And for some, music does that better than anything else."

The new Yamaha P-155 digital piano is geared toward the gigging musician who requires quality piano touch and tone, but is also ideal for home use as a practice piano. Features include quality sound and a Graded Hammer Effect key action. In addition to offering real piano sound, the keys are weighted—heavier in the lower registers and lighter in the upper notes—just like an acoustic piano.

Bloom maintains that the P-155 is helping them to "use their fingers as a way to adapt to a new reality." He commented "The P-155 is easy to use and great sounding. It has a great physical keyboard that's easy and satisfying to use. The keyboard feels good - it's expressive and motivates you to want to make music. And for service members who would play the keyboard using a prosthetic, it helps the prosthetic become a more organic part of their body. These guys tell us that Musicorps helps them in many ways, and we owe it to them to do everything we can to help them in their recoveries."

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