Piano lessons for public school students thanks to a nonprofit program

Students at Murray Hill Academy high school in Manhattan are learning to play the piano. That may seem like a typical thing to do in school. However, the school's budget, like at many public schools, can't afford to offer students the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument.

That's where Vera Anselmo comes in. She started the Piano School of New York City, which is a nonprofit. Vera and her instructors provide schools that have mostly low-income students the opportunity to learn how to play the piano.

Vera said the city's Department of Education pays her less than half of what she would normally charge for the service. But to her, it's worth it.

"As an educator, I think music is life. It gives children intellectual development. They do better in school," Anselmo said. "It changes their behavior, it gives them hope. It gives them another outlet to express themselves."

Without Vera's piano school, these students would never have the chance to learn how to play the piano.

"I like it because kids are coming here to learn something again and we don't really get the opportunity to do that every day," Roselani Peguero, a junior, said.

"I feel great about myself playing music that I've never played before," Nowrose Mujib, a senior, said. "It's pretty exciting."

Principal Anita Manninen-Felix said she is "extremely grateful" for the program.

"Our students are enjoying this," she said. "It's beautiful."

"I think it's very relaxing," student Brian Joseph said, "and it gives the kids a chance to prove their skills at piano."

The Piano School is hoping to expand its services into the Bronx.