Nathan Aké, never off pitch

Theo Elwell
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Professional footballer discovers a new passion for piano

Nathan Aké at the launch of 'Playing for Change' initiative with Casio
Nathan Aké at the launch of 'Playing for Change' initiative with Casio

Neil Ferry

Manchester City FC footballer Nathan Aké has joined forces with digital musical instrument producers, Casio Music UK to launch ‘Playing for Change’. An initiative aimed at providing much-needed access to music education for schools with a lack of funding in their music departments. This unique initiative will kick off with the donation of ten digital pianos to six schools within Manchester identified as being in critical need by the national music charity Restore The Music.

Aké, who was born in The Netherlands and now resides in Manchester, learned to play the piano during the COVID-19 lockdown and recognises the myriad of benefits that playing music can bring, from improved mental wellbeing to enhanced focus and discipline. The sportsman said, ‘Learning to play piano has offered me so many positives - from supporting my mental health, to helping me wind down from football. With the support of Restore The Music, some of Manchester’s most deprived children will have the chance to enjoy the same benefits of music education that they may not have had before. I believe all children deserve these opportunities and I am grateful to Casio for sharing this vision.’

The first leg of this initiative saw Aké visiting The East Manchester Academy, where he personally donated two Casio CDP-S110 digital pianos to the music department. With music education historically being reserved for those with more affluent socio-economic backgrounds, and decreased arts funding under the current UK government, ‘Playing for Change’ will help bridge the gap and provide the opportunity for more disadvantaged students to explore the benefits of playing a musical instrument.

Neil Evans, Head of Casio EMI, further emphasised the transformative power of music, stating, ‘Access to music can boost academic performance, social skills, cognitive development, improve confidence and so much more.’

More information can be found at casio.co.uk/emi.

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