Chasing The Outside Sound with West Philly musician and educator Chris Coyle

Photo by Nikolai Fox
Photo by Nikolai Fox

“Oh, take me to the piano!”

Philadelphia songwriter / improv-artist Chris Coyle musters up a quirky falsetto to reenact the excited voice of one of his clients in Boston, who inspired one of his songs. With a genuine smile and a smooth tenor tone, Coyle explains that many people are naturally attracted to the keys because they are so conducive to experimentation.

“It’s lined up,” he says. “It’s very visual. Obviously there is a technique to it if you want to study that, but you can pick notes with your fingers and it’s very physical and very easy to kind of experiment. Anyone can express themselves to some degree on a piano.”

For about two years, Coyle has been working within arts-based facilities providing opportunities for adults with developmental and physical disabilities. While leading musical workshops, he was blown away by the visual art that was made by the participants in the programs, and began working more closely with them.

Others might call them “students,” but these are the people Coyle prefers to think of as “clents.” Perhaps another appropriate word might be “collaborators.” Inspired by the personalities he encountered, Coyle started his own project called Outside Sound, creating multi-media performances that set the artwork of these students to Coyle’s original music. Continue reading →