This wasn’t any ordinary canvas they were painting on…

Students Care Service chose these kids for a mission — give an old piano a new lease of life! With the help of artist Marvin Chew, the students would soon realise they can make a great work of art through this little piano makeover.

Marvin, whose childhood love of comic books started his lifelong love for art, recalled having supportive teachers that led him to the master painter he is today. Now, he hoped to return the favour by imparting life stories to the kids and influencing them to explore art.

“The students’ attention span may not be as much as professional artists, so the challenge is to get them to start something, and train them to be focused and responsible on the task at hand.”

— Marvin Chew, Vice-President of the Singapore Watercolour Society

Marvin likened the sessions he had with the students to a well-known saying: a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And those steps were made with brilliant Nippon paint: through every stroke of blue and green pastels, every dip of paint highlighting the Singaporean skyline enveloping the piano board. With every inch closer to completion, the self-proclaimed “Youth Cops” might have even forgotten the feeling of cramps as they press on to get their masterpiece done in time.

As the students stepped back and admired their work with Marvin, one can only imagine the sense of pride that grew within them. The sense of accomplishment would surely live on in each kid, just as the luminous clouds were reflected on the Singapore River they painted on the piano.

Over the next few weeks, their patriotic creation went on a journey of its own — from the spotlight of the Sports Hub with 24 others of its kind to laying roost at the bustling research centre of Biopolis.

But the piano was never alone. Weary biochemists found peace in the elements with each note coming from the piano, even if was the score from a Jackie Chan movie. And children enjoyed playing away from the strict order of piano lessons.

But soon it was time for the Skyline Piano to make its leave, and be brought to its permanent home: Tanglin Secondary School. This piano was slated to be auctioned off too, but SCS decided to bring it back to the school as a form of pride for the students involved. Even with two other pianos already at the premises, the school officials were so enthralled that they made room for one more! (And it probably looks the best out of all!)

It now resides in a specially reserved spot — in front of the main stage at the school multi-purpose hall – and whenever the “Youth Cops” have their assembly there, they will smile and know in their hearts that their creativity and hard work made that happen.

“It is my hope that the piano can be a reminder for all youth that beautiful outcomes require tedious work and dedication. That the process may be painstaking and tiresome, but the eventual product is always worth the effort.”

— Jason Tan Hock Chiang, Students Care Service

To end off, we did a short interview with the Skyline Piano for our “PIANOS OF SINGAPORE: If Pianos Could Talk” Series, a tongue-in-cheek look at the lives of these pianos!

“After many years in a comfy home, I was really sad to leave my family. Was I getting too old for them? But soon I realised I was meant for BIGGER things!

Students Care Service treated me really well and gave me such a shiok facelift! At first I doubted whether the students could really make me beautiful again. But as their brushes lathered me in luxurious shades of blue and green, I thought these kids sure know how to treat a lady, sigh…

And oh, what an honour to have Mr Marvin Chew design a pretty row of skyscrapers on my forehead — must be the latest trend for us pianos, I think. But who was this little man painted on my side? He does looking dashing in white, arms crossed with such a stoic pose. 

Now a prettied-up model like me has to go places, y’know!

It was wonderful to get out for three weeks and let the maestros of Biopolis tinkle my ivories. I never knew such beautiful music could ever come out of me, since no one played me much after a while, so I was ecstatic to start those keys moving once again!

When I heard that Tanglin Secondary — the very same school where my lovely painters came from — wanted to adopt me, my top nearly came off! And the folks there fixed me with a prime location — the front of their main hall, no less! I wanted to cry then, but too much moisture is bad for my keys, dear.

Now, I would really love to keep chatting, but I see a line of new admirers waiting to boogie woogie with me. Thanks for letting me indulge in my tale, and please, tell your readers to support the great work that SCS does with children all over our great nation. See you soon…”

Students Care Service reaches out to Children, Youth and their Families through Schools, Centre-based and Community, by rolling out social work and educational psychology programmes which are informed by Research, Theories and Practice Wisdom, whilst staying true to their core values. Find out more about how you can do your part by visiting (credit: SCS)