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U Piano Outreach Program (UPOP)

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Registration for the Spring 2022 semester will be open from January 3-7, 2022.
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(Las inscripciones para el semestre de Otoño 2021 han terminado. Las inscripciones para el semestre de Primavera estarán abiertas del 3 al 7 de enero del 2022.)
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Low income elementary school students in Salt Lake City School District Title I schools receive after school piano lessons from U piano majors. The program helps them learn a life-long skill and develops self confidence.

School of Music piano majors hone their teaching skills and learn valuable life lessons, preparing them for future careers. This 20-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 four sites, the program serves approximately 150 children from grades 3-6 with 1 ½ hours of piano instruction per student per week for 28 weeks. A graduate teaching assistant leads with undergraduate student volunteers aiding them.


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

upop

School Sites

backmanBackman Elementary

601 North 1500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

The U Piano Outreach Program is the only opportunity for our students to have piano lessons.” – Dallin Miller, assistant principal

The Piano Outreach Program has taught students at Backman Elementary School since 2010. At Backman Elementary, 90% of students' families live below the federal poverty level, 85% of student body comes from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds, and 65% of student body are English language learners.


Graduate Instructors
  • Michael Pingel
    Masters Candidate, Piano Performance


"The U Piano Outreach Program offers a unique opportunity to our students that they will cherish throughout their lives." — Dahlia Cordova, Principal

The U Piano Outreach Program moved to Backman elementary school in 2010, and has since served 36 students annually, with each student receiving classes four days per week. This year, thanks to the generosity of The McCarthey Family Foundation, we have welcomed an additional graduate teaching instructor into the classroom and are pleased to announce that we will be reaching close to 50 students this year!

Parents sign their children up to participate on a first come, first served basis, starting at back-to-school night. At Backman Elementary, 90% of students' families live below the federal poverty level, 85% of student body comes from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds, and 65% of student body are English language learners.

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 McCarthey Family Foundation. 

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.


Graduate Instructors
  • Sarah Dawn Messina
    Masters Candidate, Piano Performance
    The McCarthey Family Foundation TA

  • Nate Wambolt
    Masters Candidate, Piano Performance


“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.

bennionBennion Elementary

429 South 800 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

The U Piano Outreach Program offers a unique opportunity to our students that they will cherish throughout their lives.” – Dahlia Cordova, principal

One of our newer sites, the Piano Outreach Program has taught students at Bennion Elementary since 2015. According to its Principal, Dahlia Cordova, students who participate make significant gains in reading scores and show improvement in truancy and safe school violations.

 

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%

 

 

Last Updated: 7/6/22