The Nonprofit Pianos for People
Founded by advertising executive and jazz/blues pianist Tom Townsend, Pianos for People is a local nonprofit organization that provides free piano lessons to low-income individuals and families. In addition to its traditional piano lessons, the organization also hosts community events, such as Piano Slams and Super Theory Saturdays. In the past year, the organization has delivered over 200 donated pianos to local residents.
Using the piano as a gateway to learning and self-esteem, Pianos for People breaks down barriers to music education. The nonprofit delivers donated, quality acoustic pianos to low-income and disabled families, as well as veterans and seniors. In addition to offering free music lessons, the organization regifts pianos to people in need.
When Pianos for People first launched, it was just about delivering donated pianos. It delivered one to each home each week. As demand for lessons increased, the organization needed a campaign to expand its reach. The organization has since grown to two locations in St. Louis. The main storefront on Cherokee Street serves as the center for all of the organization’s activities. The store is hand-painted and features a dozen pianos for public use. In addition to the store, the organization operates a digital lab where students learn to play the electric keyboard.
In addition to providing free music lessons to those in need, Pianos for People has partnered with organizations to refurbish older pianos for disabled veterans and senior citizens. In the future, the nonprofit hopes to open a satellite location in North County.
The program is considered to be a good idea by many. According to the program’s website, the benefits of playing an instrument include increasing verbal memory, visuo-spatial processing, and cognitive skills. The study of music also improves reading and math skills.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its first location, Pianos for People will host a celebration on October 23 in the Concert Hall at The Sheldon. This event will feature alumni, students, and special guests. In addition, the organization plans to hold a summer camp for students of all levels.
Pianos for People has received a program support grant from the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, which will help to fund expansion of the organization. In the future, the nonprofit may consider branching out to other states.
While the music industry continues to thrive, Pianos for People is leveraging the power of the piano to create a community impact. In fact, it has impacted more than a thousand people and the lives of many more. The nonprofit has helped break down financial barriers, fostering creativity, empathy, and success. In addition, it has impacted the wellbeing, social connectedness, and economic benefits of communities.
Pianos for People is known for its innovative programs. In addition to its free piano lessons, the organization operates a digital lab that allows students to learn to play the electric keyboard. It is also known for its community events and music matching program. These events attract more than 150 youth in the evenings and on weekends.