Abigail Swisher has played the piano since 5th grade, taught by local teachers in her hometown Linwood, New Jersey. At home she played on an electric keyboard with weighted keys, making it sound just like the classical pianos.
She took lessons from Mrs. Ryon all the way up to her senior year of high school. Since transferring from Fairleigh Dickinson to Penn State for her Junior year in 2013, she has made due with the lack of a piano by playing on older ones located in White Building on the Penn State campus.
The wooden pianos are dusty, unpolished, and chipped. The majority of the keys on the pianos are out of tune, and some keys do not work at all. But it has allowed her to find alternatives to make up for the broken pianos as she plays her favorites "Piano Man" by Billy Joel and "Für Elise" by Ludwig van Beethoven. Other favorites that she plays is "Linus and Lucy" from the animated show Peanuts, and "New York State of Mind," also by Billy Joel.
When Swisher sees a piano, it is as if the piano is calling to her, asking her to play on it, she says. "It somehow creates little jingles in my brain and I'm like, 'Oh yay I get to play this and get to play that.'"