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U Piano Outreach Program (UPOP)


“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning” ― Plato

The University of Utah Piano Outreach Program (UPOP) provides FREE private and group piano classes, and inspiring performance opportunities to Title I Elementary Schools in the Salt Lake City and Jordan School Districts as part of their After-School programs. UPOP helps kids from underserved communities learn a life-long skill that develops self-confidence, academic proficiency, and cognitive function.

UPOP teaching teams are comprised by lead Instructors and volunteer teaching assistants. Lead instructors are University of Utah’s School of Music doctoral and master piano students. Undergraduate piano students and community volunteers aid the lead instructors as Volunteer Teaching Assistants. They hone their teaching skills and learn valuable professional training that prepares them for future careers.

This 20-year partnership between the University of Utah, the Salt Lake City School District, and generous community supporters offers a win-win learning experience for elementary and university students alike.

Currently at six sites, the program serves approximately 120 children from grades K-6 during the academic year.



Welcome to UPOP!

Registration for the 2024-25 school year will be open from September 2024.


Escalante, and Washington

Children enrolled in the afterschool programs at  Washington, and Escalante Elementary Schools will get registration priority. Registration will open from September 2024 for kids who are enrolled in these afterschool programs. The remaining spots will be open for all other children on a first come first serve basis starting September TBA. Registration will close on September TBA or until all spots are taken, whichever comes first.


Registration will be open on a first come first serve basis from September 2024

UPOP classes will begin September TBA


Register in two simple steps:

1. Fill out the REGISTRATION FORM 

2. Please sign the LIABILITY WAIVER 

After these two steps have been completed, our team will get in touch with you within 24-48 hours to confirm your enrollment and class time.


desGDesireé González-Miller
Director of Piano Outreach

Desireé is an award-winning pianist and teacher. She has won top prizes in the Parnassós National Piano Competition, the American Protegé International Piano Competition (including a performance in Carnegie Hall), and the Young Virtuosos UANL and Summer Arts Piano Competitions. She received the Reid Nibley Scholar award twice while studying at BYU. Most recently, she was given the 2015 Janet Mann Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Utah, and the 2014 Student Teacher of the Year Award by the Utah Music Teachers’ Association. Read full bio.

Program Needs 

Give Today

  • Classroom Supplies $10
  • Piano music $15
  • Headphones $25
  • Incentives $50
  • Site-wide music $75
  • Piano bench $100
  • Recital sponsorship $250
  • IPad $150
  • Keyboard $1,000
  • Instructor support $2,500-$12,000


School Sites



washingtonWashington Elementary

420 North 200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

"As both the principal and a parent of a student in the program, I am grateful for the many benefits the Piano Outreach Program provides our students.” – John Z. Kelly, principal

Thanks to generous support from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Washington Elementary’s Piano Outreach Program site was started in 2011. At Washington Elementary, more than 40% of students’ families live below the federal poverty level, 55% of student body comes from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds, and 29% of student body are English language learners.

Class TImes
  • Beginner Class 1 
  • Beginner Class 2 
  • Returning Class   

“The Piano Outreach Program gives our students a first glance at seeing themselves as belonging on a university campus and bound for higher education.” — Rebecca Pittam, Principal

Thanks to generous support from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, the Washington Piano Outreach site was started in 2011 and continues to thrive every day. Furthermore, we are grateful to the McCarthey Family Foundation for awarding one of our bright and dedicated instructors the McCarthey Family Foundation Teaching Assistantship. The kind support of these two families has allowed for the expansion of the Washington Piano Lab, increasing the number of children taught last year from 40 to nearly 65 children this year, and with hopes to grow even more by January 2015! 

Students apply at the start of the school year to participate and are selected based on age, (preference is given to older students), behavior, school attendance history, motivation level and admittance of siblings in the program. At Washington Elementary, more than 40% of students’ families live below the federal poverty level, 55% of student body comes from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds, and 29% of student body are English language learners. Even in our piano lab, %30 of our students commute from the Road Home Homeless Shelter.

At the end of the semester, program participants perform their recital pieces for their families and the entire school, as well as being invited to the University of Utah to play in a special Piano Outreach Christmas Concert in Thompson Chamber Hall. In May, outstanding students from each school are invited to participate in the Piano Outreach Ensemble in the Piano Area Monster Concert. 

Thank you to our wonderful supporters, The Sorenson Legacy Foundation and The McCarthey Family Foundation.


escalanteEscalante Elementary

 1810 West 900 North
  Salt Lake City, UT 84116 

“On behalf of the Escalante community, I applaud UPOP for their dedication to creating quality learning environments for our students. Their collective work and efforts directly benefit our children and community. I commend them for their continuing dedication to our most precious resource, our children. I totally support UPOP and what they stand for.” Haloti Liava’a – principal 

UPOP contributes to building a better system for our children to have access to programsneeded, but parents may not be able to access. Escalante Elementary currently serves:

• Economically Disadvantaged 88%

• Students with Disabilities 19%

• English Language Learners 44%

• Homeless 7%

Class Times
  • Beginner Class 1 
  • Beginner Class 2 
  • Returning Class 


Majestic Elementary

 7430 S. Redwood Rd
  West Jordan, UT 84084

"Being a pianist has helped me in many aspects of my life, especially as an educator. Aside from the joy that playing an instrument brings, it has helped me learn to be flexible, look at things from multiple perspectives, improvise, and realize about the importance of details."  Marianne Johansen, principal

Majestic Elementary Arts Academy is the first school of its kind in Utah. Our Title One school has thrived since becoming an arts integration magnet school. Our students love the access they have to the arts. In fact, almost all our outgoing sixth graders from last year signed up for band, and many of them were immediately placed in the advanced class at the junior high. The UPOP piano lab will further that momentum. Our students ask every day about piano lessons; most of them won't have the opportunity to take private lessons and this will help them build confidence and academic skills in a unique way. Our students are smart and have big dreams. I want my students to build these same skills because I know how effectively they transfer to academic and life success. My students will take advantage of this opportunity and I can't wait to see the amazing things they do because of UPOP. – Marianne Johansen, principal

Class Times
  • Beginner Class 1 
  • Beginner Class 2 
  • Beginner Class 3 



Last Updated: 6/5/24