Tag Archives: Outreach

Outreach Projects from Around the U.S.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), The Lorax (1971)


Thank-you, everyone, for all your stories of outreach. I love reading about everything teachers all over the U.S. are doing to make a better world for families. Together we are creating performance opportunities, reaching out to underserved populations and building communities. I’m grateful to each of you. You’re an inspiration!

The Mundi Project

The Mundi Project provides youth access to pianos and innovative performance opportunities that incorporate all the arts. They create these opportunities through their Piano BankPiano Ambassador, and the upcoming Harmony Hub.

Founded in 2006 by piano educator, Hana Janatova, NCTM, The Mundi Project has placed over 127 piano donations through the Piano Bank program. The Piano Bank Program places donated pianos in private homes to dedicated students that cannot afford them, as well as in public spaces all across Utah.

The Piano Ambassador Program enrolls youth pianists to perform in concerts and community outreach events. It uses the piano as the cornerstone instrument and incorporates other fine art disciplines in collaboration with local schools and arts organizations. Since 2007, the organization has presented 14 multi-disciplinary concerts, 16 education/ community outreach performances, a three-week intensive multi-disciplinary art workshop, 33 workshop series, and 3 piano monster concerts for Salt Lake School District students and the general public.

Salt Lake City’s first ever Harmony Hub is in the works and is scheduled to open this fall. The Hub will be a piano lab, music/arts exploration center, and community-based recording studio. The program will offer consistent after-school piano/music lessons on an annual basis for low-income students and the Utah residents.

Hana Janatova, NCTM, Utah

Paramount Chamber Players

I set up a non-profit ensemble, The Paramount Chamber Players, in my hometown of Bristol, TN and come back from my home in London, England to perform there three times a year. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary!

We’ve established three chamber music series with a fourth in development in the small communities of the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee. I discovered that people would not drive 30 minutes between the cities to attend a concert. So, we decided to take the concert to them!

We’ve grown from an audience of about 30 to a combined audience of 400+ and have developed a dedicated donor base of 100 individuals and a few select businesses in the area. We have commissioned several new works from composers who live in the area.

It’s been wonderful to serve these communities and on a personal note I’ve learned 175+ major works in the last 12 years and performed them – a second doctorate of sorts!

Hutchinson Area Piano Teachers Association (KS)

We, the two members of Hutchinson Area Piano Teachers’ Association have wanted to share our success story for a long time! As outrageous as this may sound we feel we are on a path to be the poster child of independent piano teaching in a community of 50,000 or less and we have the pictures to prove it.

If you truly want to see what happens when you follow the mission statement of the Kansas Music Teachers Association plus a mountain of articles from the MTNA magazine, you get us. Please go to www.hutchinsonpianoteachers.com and look for yourself. The plethora of pictures are not always flattering, some a little fuzzy but they all tell the story. Scroll through to see what happens when an organization partners with the Downtown Development Center for “Third Thursday Performing Opportunities”.

We partner with the Kansas Cosmosphere and Discovery Center, Dillon Nature Center, Hutchinson Art Center, Pianos Unlimited and the Hutchinson Parks Dept. We can bring as many as 65 students to any given event and they come with an entourage of supporters.  Win Win! We are partners with the local American Guild of Organists for a “Pipe Organ Encounter” and sponsor the Anderson Concerto Auditions for both pianists and instrumentalists, for which we received two grants and a gift of a Yamaha piano.

Wow, thanks A LOT!

Judy Blauer, HAPTA President

Subscribe via Email

Get news and articles about music teaching delivered straight to your inbox, once or twice per week.

Good Deeds in a Naughty World

My heading is a paraphrase of Shakespeare, from his play The Merchant of Venice, Act Five, Scene 1, the same scene in which Lorenzo (one of the male leads) says that no one who dislikes music should be trusted.

Many MTNA members that I know perform a lot of good deeds—and are very trustworthy! They share their love of music in their communities on many levels, and serve gladly in a variety of volunteer positions to further the MTNA mission.

The fact remains that, despite our best efforts, music study is not available to many segments of the U.S. population. How many people study music each year in the U.S.? The official answer is: no one knows. But I’ll give you my answer: not enough.

Today I’d like to tell you about two established outreach programs, and one that is just beginning. They share a common goal: to bring music into the heart of the community, and bring music study to underserved populations.

Keys for the City“Keys for the City” is a project of Music for Everyone, a non-profit group in Lancaster, PA, a city that bills itself the “Street Piano Capital of the World”. 2014 was the fifth consecutive summer that pianos were placed all over Lancaster, to be played by whomever wanted to perform. There were 12 available pianos, each designed and painted by local artists.

“Whether people stop by to play a few notes or an entire piece, there [are] thousands of magical, musical moments…” says John Gerdy, president of Music for Everyone. Local teachers sometimes station themselves near the pianos to give brief lessons. But mainly, people just jam, and have a great time playing.

The “Keys for the City” coincides with five “Music Friday” events in Lancaster, in which 40 music acts perform in bars, restaurants, galleries, and in the streets of Lancaster.

Lancaster isn’t the only town reaching out with music. 2015 is a big year for my home MTNA branch, the Kansas City Music Teachers Association. It’s our 100th anniversary! To celebrate our 100 years of excellence, KCMTA has set a goal of placing 100 ‘artistically transformed’ pianos around the Kansas City area during the summer of 2015. It’s part of a program called “Pianos on Parade”.

Local artists and kids will paint the pianos in May. Some will be stationed in high-traffic areas, others will pop-up at local fairs, festivals and sporting events. “Pianos on Parade” is a program of Keys 4/4 Kids, a non-profit organization that accepts donated pianos and uses the profits to fund charitable programs.

The last program that I would like to tell you about is close to my own heart, because it originates in the MTNA Student Chapter of the school where where I teach, the University of Kansas. This is a wonderful group of music students who are taking the initiative to do something really special.

They (with my help, since I am faculty advisor) have identified a group of students in a small Kansas town who have never had the opportunity to study any musical instrument. We are going to offer lessons to them, using the teaching skills of our KU students and the latest technology.

We’re busy checking, organizing and finalizing, so I better say no more right now. I couldn’t be more proud of this group of exceptional young musicians and I’m looking forward to sharing more information with you.

Is your local MTNA branch reaching out to the community in exciting ways? If so, I would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment, or send me an email.

Subscribe via Email

Get news and articles about music teaching delivered straight to your inbox, once or twice per week.