Do a quick Internet search for the benefits of music education and you will quickly find long lists of benefits including better academic performance, improved creative thinking, and higher self-esteem through self-expression (just to name a few). There are many organizations dedicated to music and today I profile one of them.
Keys 4/4 Kids is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire young people to believe in themselves through the arts. The primary programs are the Piano Placement program and he Paint-A-Piano program. Both programs involve piano donations to low-income homes, churches, schools, or community centers that could not otherwise afford a piano. The organization also promotes better access to music and the arts to all people by selling pianos and donating the proceeds to support local music and arts programs. You can see a video about their Piano Placement program here.
Newell Hill began selling donated pianos out of his parent’s garage in 2000 to fund MUSE, an after-school music and arts program in North Minneapolis. This program helped fill the gap in music and arts education that was created by budget cuts to schools. He was able to successfully fund the program and felt he had a great opportunity to bring the idea of piano donations to a broader public.
The organization is based in St. Paul, Minnesota and also has locations in Belle Plaine Minnesota, Chicago Illinois, and Kansas City Missouri. They offer a unique opportunity to recycle used pianos rather than struggling to find a new home for a piano when moving, downsizing homes, or purchasing a new piano. A piano donation to Keys 4/4 Kids supports local non-profits and allows you to receive a tax deduction. It also provides a lower cost option for families looking to purchase a piano.
How can you help?
- First, you can spread the word about this organization! If you hear someone looking to buy a piano or trying to find a new home for their piano, please suggest they look into Keys 4/4 Kids. You can find information about piano donations and pianos for sale on their website.
- They are also currently looking for volunteers to help out on Saturdays to greet customers and even help them pick out pianos.
- They are also looking for volunteers to assist them with their social media campaigns.
Another project that Keys 4/4 Kids has launched is Pianos on Parade (POP). This project places ‘artistically transformed’ pianos around the Twin Cities, Minnesota in various outdoor locations for all to play and enjoy. The idea behind this project is to spur residents and visitors to spontaneously engage with art, music, and one another, creating moments of community and highlighting the city’s exceptional commitment to music and arts. You can learn more about this program and watch videos about it at PianosOnParade.com. Below are examples of the pianos as well as a map of their piano locations in 2013.