Older Woman Finds Piano At Train Station, Stuns Internet-Famous Pianist With Impromptu Ragtime Performance

Feb 23, 2021 by apost team

It's often impossible to know what talent lurks among us. Especially with older individuals, the number of skills and experiences they have tucked away is often astounding. If you passed the lady in this video on the way to the train during your morning commute, you likely wouldn't think twice about her. However, when she sat down at a public upright piano tucked away casually in the corner of a train station in London, England, she commanded the attention of everyone around. As she dove seamlessly into a breathtaking ragtime performance, a crowd gathered almost immediately.

Although the woman's piano skills are obvious, you would be forgiven for thinking that she was the only star in the crowd. However, the man filming this piano goddess is a famous pianist in his own right. Brendan Kavanagh, better known as "Dr. K," is a world-renowned piano player from London, England, known for his innovative and boundaryless approach to music. With over 1.3 million followers on YouTube, his videos are some of the most popular piano videos on the web.

Given his credentials, Dr. K is no stranger to spotting talent. That's why he likely knew he had a star on his hands when he came across this elderly pianist in a video uploaded in July 2020. Once he heard her obvious skill, he began filming as quickly as he could. The video did not take long to go viral. The woman's unique combination of stride and ragtime styles won over the hearts of hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

The speed of her playing is truly impressive. When someone is first learning piano, being able to play quickly enough for up-tempo songs is often one of the biggest challenges. That's why ragtime is normally considered one of the most difficult genres to master. In addition to the intricate melodies you have to play with your right hand, ragtime also requires a deft left hand for complex bass rhythms. It's a delicate dance that only comes with practice.

This complexity makes the woman's performance all the more impressive. The music flows out of her hands magically, her fingers moving in a blur. At least one person in the crowd is likely wondering if she made a deal with the devil for these slick runs. As she finishes her first piece with bravado, the crowd thinks she is finished. In reality, she is only just getting started.

Dr. K is just as impressed as the rest of the crowd. As she enters the next song, her speed only increases. Despite her obvious skill and technique, she never seems impressed with herself. She barely even smiles. She simply keeps her head down and plays her heart out. The music does the talking for her, and nothing else needs to be said. 

One of the most inspirational aspects of this video is the diversity of the crowd. We often make the mistake of pigeonholing individuals into certain musical styles based upon their age or background. However, truly great music knows no age or ethnicity. The crowd around her seems to come from all walks of life. 


She Isn't The Only Star Dr. K Has Featured

Regardless of who you are, you can appreciate this level of skill. Considering that the video has been watched over 1.5 million times, the internet must agree!

In addition to this rocking granny, Dr. K has numerous other impromptu performances on his channel. For some time, he has expressed a love of public pianos as a place to bring music to the masses. In short, they make music approachable. They make it a shared experience. One need not be an expert to find favor in the eye of Dr. K, either. Recently, he posted a video of a young boy practicing the classic "Boogie Woogie." While the melody is a little shaky at times, it is clear that the boy is having a blast. After all, practice is what leads to perfection, so his ability to devote the time to learn is admirable. While this video hasn't achieved the fame of the ragtime octogenarian, it still has over 75,000 views and rising.

Dr. K has a penchant for justice, too. In one of his most popular videos, he takes the time to film a young chap in a hoodie tearing it up on a public piano. He sounds great and seems to be having the time of his life. Despite this, a woman approaches from the crowd and berates the boy for "hurting the piano." Despite her claim being nonsense, she continues to accost the boy. Dr. K defends the budding musician and puts the lady in her place. Justice is a beautiful thing, especially when shown to thousands of people on the internet. 

Only One Thing Is Consistent For Dr. K

It seems Dr. K's repertoire is expansive, but there is one common theme that you can identify throughout: a love of ragtime piano. Regardless of the specific song, location or artist, Dr. K makes a mission of popularizing the unique boogie-woogie style. As a genre, ragtime originally emerged within African-American communities during the late 19th century. Kentucky-born Ben Harney was one of the genre's first popularizers, releasing the successful composition "You've Been a Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down" in 1896. But if there's one man who's known for ragtime, it's Scott Joplin, a Texan who earned the title "the King of Ragtime" thanks to hits like "The Entertainer." Typically played on tired barroom pianos, Joplin helped the genre become a uniquely grassroots musical movement that anyone could adopt and call their own. Unfortunately, the style has become more obscure as time has passed (save for a revival in the early 1970s), which is why the work of Dr. K is so important to remind people of this unique aspect of American musical history.

When this older lady sat down at the piano, few people could know what was about to happen. Yet, the music she effortlessly produced speaks for itself. Anyone can be inspired by the fact that she has kept the spirit alive for so long and that so many people appreciate her fierce style. She represents a truly awe-inspiring combination of humility, skill and passion. She is the epitome of why publicly available instruments can make such a wonderful impact on the community. 

What's your favorite example of a person surprising you with their skills? Whether it is a retiree teaching kids a lesson on the basketball court or a kindergartner playing impeccable classical music, hidden talents lurk everywhere you look. Let us know your favorite example, and be sure to send this story to friends, family members and music fans.

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