Below is an email I received recently. This is moving... ------------------------------------------------

black and white piano man street performer famous photoHello, Dotan!

I am a middle school English teacher, and I follow your blog on tumblr. A couple of weeks ago, you posted a beautiful black and white photo of you on the streets of NYC, with Brando looking straight at the camera and a little girl with a doll turning back to watch you play.

I thought it was the perfect photo for a picture prompt, so I brought it in to show my sixth-grade students. I didn’t tell them anything: just asked them to write a story based on the photo. After they had written their stories, we analyzed the photo to figure out where and when it might have been taken. Then I gave them a cliff-notes version of the truth.

They thought it was very cool. We watched the Australian news story about piano across America, and I told them what you are doing now in NYC. One class thought you should come play at our school.

It was a great break from a monotony of test-preparation in English class. Thank you for sharing your story and your message. Sometimes I think a third of my students have already given up on themselves at the age of twelve. This was one more way for me to tell them that they have the ability to make their dreams a reality.

We wish you all the best, Dotan. Let us know if you’re ever in Fredericksburg, Virginia!

Take care,



It's messages like these that keep me doing the things I love. This is what gives me meaning to my life.

Every day I ask myself how I can improve on this whole piano thing and I think the answer lies somewhere in going to schools and teaching people about the power of music.

Photo was taken by Vincent DiPietro in Union Square (2011)