The Piano Man on Tremont Street Piano Initiative Taught Brockway to Play Three Years Ago

By Seth Daniel

On Thursday afternoon last week, crews pulled a piano out of a truck – painted decoratively like a Popcorn box – and took the plastic sheeting off of it and stationed it on Tremont Street near the Boston Center for the Arts.

It was part of the ongoing Street Piano Boston program that is currently up and running all over the City.

It wasn’t but five minutes later that Tom Brockway was reliving the fun he had three years ago on a similar piano in the same location – a piano that sparked his interest in playing and helped him to continue playing and, eventually, mastering the instrument.

“This is like an anniversary for me,” he said as he sat down and began tapping the keys. “Three years ago when they had the street pianos I learned to play by ear and then I learned the chords. I put it all together. Now I can play pop, jazz, rock and just about anything but Classical. I never thought of playing the piano until I sat down here three years ago. It was bright silver and they called it ‘Liberace.’ That’s what got me started. I kept going when they took them away, mostly by going to music stores and practicing.”

Just to show, he then played a soft jazz piece and then broke into a lively version of ‘Gold digger,’ the pop R&B song by Kanye West. That was followed up by ‘Happy,’ and then another R&B tune.

“I can play Drake, Eminem, Rhianna and all of those,” he said. “I like to play a lot of R&B and Hip Hop because you don’t hear people playing piano in the open doing that.”

Brockway said he has tried other instruments, but the piano is his best.

“I think piano is my natural instrument,” he said.

Certainly the Street Piano might be.

“I’ve been waiting three years to come out here and play piano here like I used to,” he said. “It’s great.”

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