Greetings, friends and family of Pianos for People,
We hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy.  As we share this time of uncertainty, we are continually reminded of the importance of our mission to bring the joy and comfort of music-making to those who would otherwise not have that opportunity.  Although we're currently physically separated from those we serve, we are inspired by their ability to find peace, hope, and a sense of community in the moments of creative expression that we've been able to continue providing. It can't change some of the things they're dealing with, but it certainly improves how they feel about them!

Though our two free piano school locations in South St. Louis and Ferguson have been temporarily closed since March 16, all of our teachers adapted quickly and continue their private lessons online through videoconferencing with their students. We're trying to assist some our families who did not have home internet access, to make sure they are able to take advantage of currently available offers of free connections.  And we foresee this distance learning capability continuing to be a valuable teaching resource even after the current crisis is over, for our students who may be home ill or otherwise unable to get to our schools at times.

We've also had to temporarily halt our piano donation & delivery program as well. But we're proud to share that there are now 277 homes in the St. Louis region where a piano we delivered helps to brighten the days, especially when so many are stuck at home!  We look forward to getting the piano donation program back up and running, and are pleased to announce that our piano teacher Danny Ravensberg is going to be taking over the administration of that program. Hannah Herum has done an outstanding job of coordinating it for the past few years, and will continue on as a teacher at our Ferguson school.

We hope you are all well and dealing with the current challenges. We're all in this together, and together we'll get through it, while continuing to bring the joy of music to those who need it most.

With gratitude,  

Matt Brinkmann
Executive Director

Ferguson Piano Slam!

We continued a PFP tradition on February 28 with a public Piano Slam Jam event in memory of Tom Townsend, who originated the idea as a way to give our students and others the experience of playing piano with a live band. For the first time ever, the Slam was held at our Ferguson school location at First Baptist Church, which doubled our audience capacity!  Our "house band" of Billy Green, John Wallach and PFP Board member Mike Manchisi were joined on piano and keys by Board member Jim Messina and  teacher Mike Carosello, as well as Executive Director Matt Brinkmann making an impromptu appearance on sousaphone!  Many young audience members came up to the keys to join in the fun, including an enthusiastic contingent from St. Vincent Home for Children. Check out the photos of the fun, and be sure to join us for our next Slam!

Welcome new PFP Board member  Tim Rodgers

Along with Tom Townsend, Tim Rodgers was a co-founder and CEO of Rodgers Townsend, an advertising agency based in St. Louis. Begun in 1996 as a two-person agency in the conference room of a small law firm, "RT" grew in size and stature and was eventually acquired by Omnicom in 2006. In addition to winning every major international creative award, the agency is known for its egalitarian culture and commitment to pro bono causes, being the only advertising agency recognized with the Mayor's "Spirit of St. Louis Award," as well as a Forest Park Forever "Keeper of the Park." 

Tim and Tom were elected to the St. Louis Media and Advertising Hall of Fame in 2014, and were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advertising Club of Greater St. Louis in 2018. 

Tim spent his first twenty years at D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, where he left as Senior Vice-President/Account Group Director. At 26, Tim was the youngest vice-president in the history of DMB&B.

Tim retired from RT at the end of August 2017. He is an insatiable student of history, a travel aficionado, and still performs with March Hare, the rock group he fronted for five years in the 70's. He is also two years into a lifelong quest to learn to play the piano, has begun writing his own music, and remains active with pro bono work for the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis University High School, Variety the Children's Charity and Missouri Cures.

MUSIC LEARNING COMMUNITY is an online playground of learning games
that teach and reinforce traditional music theory and aural skills.  The website was designed by a leading local expert in music and computer-based learning. 

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to provide access to this site to all of our students, giving them a new and fun way to learn music theory and compete for participation prizes! It has also been a great way to extend our online learning presence during this time of distancing. Our newest teacher Michelle Hedges (see profile below) oversees this new aspect of our piano education approach.


We are proud to share that Pianos for People is one of only three local arts organizations featured prominently in the new five-year strategic plan of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. Our work is highlighted as an example of their top priority to "advance the education of young people in and through the arts".  You can learn more about the plan and download it here: 
PFP Executive Director Matt Brinkmann 


The newest member of our teaching staff, Michelle Hedges, just moved to St. Louis in January.  She has been giving private music lessons for over 30 years. She was born into a musical family and started taking piano lessons at age 4. Her love affair with brass instruments began at age 12 when she began playing trombone at school. When she was only 16, a neighbor asked Michelle to give her daughter piano lessons, and she has never stopped teaching!

Michelle received a Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone Performance from Southeast Missouri State University. In college, she had the opportunity to learn all of the brass instruments and percussion, taking piano and drum lessons along with her required trombone lessons. 

Michelle is conversant in many styles of music. She has focused on piano the last few years, accompanying a high school choir and playing for solo and ensemble contests, and she loves sharing the joy of being able to play!

3138 Cherokee Street
St Louis 63118
(314) 285 5852