U Piano Outreach

Elementary school students in Salt Lake City School District Title I schools, which have high percentages of students from families living in poverty, receive piano lessons from U students after school through the Piano Outreach Program. The program not only helps them learn a life-long skill, but also seeks to improve their performance in core academic subjects, like math and reading, and to prevent behavior and truancy problems.


School of Music piano majors hone their teaching skills and learn valuable life lessons through service, preparing them for future careers. This five-year partnership between the U, the Salt Lake City School District and generous community supporters offers a win-win learning experience for elementary and college students alike.

Currently at two sites, the program serves approximately 150 children from grades K-6 at each with 2 hours of piano instruction per student per week for 30 weeks. The keyboard lab size determines the number of children served. At least two graduate teaching assistants lead each site, with four or more undergraduate student volunteers aiding them, using an instructional curriculum developed by our doctoral piano students, under the supervision of our piano faculty.

We are thrilled to be reaching more students this year than we ever have before!

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School Sites

Backman Elementary School

Backman Elementary

601 North 1500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

The U Piano Outreach Program moved to Backman elementary school in 2010, and has since served 36 students annually, with each student receiving classes 4 days per week.  More…

Washington Elementary School

Washington Elementary

420 North 200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Thanks to generous support from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, the Washington Piano Outreach site was started in 2011 and continues to thrive every day.  More…

Susan Duehlmeier
Faculty Director

Mio Cowden
Coordinator of Piano Outreach


Program Needs

  • Classroom Supplies $10
  • Piano music $15
  • Headphones $25
  • Incentives $50
  • Site-wide music $75
  • Piano bench $100
  • Recital sponsorship $250
  • Computer $500
  • Keyboard $1,000
  • Instructor support $2,500-$12,000

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Last Updated: 11/27/17