Pianos for People, the nonprofit organization that provides free refurbished pianos and lessons to those who couldn’t otherwise afford them, will deliver its 300th piano on Mon., March 29, also recognized as International Piano Day.

As part of International Piano Day, celebrated annually on the 88th day of the year in honor of the number of keys on a piano, piano players of all ages and abilities are encouraged to play in public places. Pianos for People will have various teachers and students playing a piano in the studio’s street side window throughout the day. The studio is located at 3138 Cherokee St.

The 300th piano will be delivered to Amani Dugger, a sixth-grade student at
Pamoja Prep Academy. The 12-year-old, who has dreams of becoming a cardiac sonographer, has been playing the piano for five years, is a current student at the studio and has attended the organization’s popular summer music camp the last few years. She is currently practicing at home on a small keyboard, without the preferred standard 88 keys.

Dugger will receive her new piano from Ballwin resident Laurie Bowen. Bowen, who played the piano for years as a child, received the 44-inch Hamilton Studio Piano as a birthday gift from her husband, Tom, in 2008. Bowen first learned about Pianos for People during a news segment she watched several years ago and was impressed with the organization’s concept.

“While I took lessons as a child, I didn’t have natural talent, nor the discipline to practice every day, but I did enjoy making music,” Bowen said. “Playing was just fun for me and it helped me work through the normal emotional and stressful typical teen years. This piano is not a piece of furniture but a beautiful way to make art and soothe the soul. I’m so thrilled it will have a new home with Amani."

Dugger’s piano marks the 300th delivery made by the nonprofit organization since its inception in 2012.

“It is life stories such as Amani’s and donors such as Laurie that continue to
motivate and inspire us to provide free quality instruments and lessons to those who could not otherwise afford them,” said Matt Brinkmann, executive director of Pianos for People. “A piano is more than just a piano. It can be an agent of change and inspiration for people, and we see this again and again in our work, especially in stressful times.”

In addition to the piano delivery program, the organization’s piano school on Cherokee Street offers free lessons to more than 100 students, as well as an increasing number at the organization’s Ferguson satellite studio. Lessons were conducted virtually this past year due to the pandemic; in-person classes are beginning to resume at both studios with COVID restrictions in place.

Pianos for People will also be holding its successful summer camp for students of all levels beginning June 7. The hands-on classes, which attract more than 150 youth during those critical out-of-school hours, allow students the opportunity to create and produce their own music, as well as broaden their skill level and comprehension of music theory.

Photo Credit: Pianos for People