PIANOS FOR PEOPLE
LEADERSHIP AND STAFF
Matt Brinkmann came to Pianos for People in September 2019 with an extensive background in nonprofit management and public service. A lifelong St. Louisan, he has experience in event and facility management, development, tourism, arts education and creative placemaking. He has served in a variety of roles at the Saint Louis Science Center, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, the Sheldon Concert Hall, Great Rivers Greenway and the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. He has also been an active community volunteer for local institutions such as KDHX, the Regional Arts Commission and Tower Grove Park.
Musically, Matt is best known for his years as a longtime founding member of the Funky Butt Brass Band, where he wielded a sousaphone in service to the group for eight years, during which time they released three CD’s and were voted Best Funk/Soul Band in St. Louis four times. He is also self-taught on the piano and finds playing it to be a daily source of comfort and renewal.
Kayia Baker studied music at Southeast Missouri State University and Florissant Valley Community College, and business at Lindenwood University. She taught music for 7 years in the Riverview Gardens School District (Grades K-12) and has worked as a church pianist for 29 years in the St Louis area. She previously owned and operated her own music school for nine years where she served well over 400 students offering instruction in piano, voice, guitar and drums. She is passionate about music and loves to work with people and inspire them musically.
Kayia has been the Piano School Director at Pianos for People since June 2014 and has overseen the exponential growth of the student body and programming, including the introduction of summer camps and development of the Ferguson campus.
Claire Lovins received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with an emphasis in piano from Webster University in 2020, graduating summa cum laude and with Departmental Honors. She started teaching at Pianos for People in our 2016 summer camp program and is loved by her students. Her kindness and incredible piano skills make her an invaluable addition to our program. She also started a private studio in 2015, and continues to teach privately on the weekends. Claire’s performance experience and large repertoire as well as her patience, caring, and creative teaching style inspire students to reach for their best.
Danny Ravensberg started piano lessons at the age of eight and studied music composition at University of Missouri, Columbia. He has now been playing for twenty years and has performed in Austin, Chicago, Las Vegas, and St. Louis with multiple bands including Stately Ravens and Eric Turner Trio. Danny enjoys helping students explore different genres of music including Blues, Jazz, improvisation and contemporary. He enjoys helping students discover their own musical experience through learning to follow their ear and and encourages them to listen to all kinds of music.
Mike teaches both piano and music production at the Ferguson studio. He is a Music Graduate from the prestigious University of North Texas, with a specialty in Jazz. He is a well-known performer in the St Louis area, and his expertise in improvisation and jazz has added an exciting dimension to our piano program. The “Learning to Improvise” workshop is highly popular, particularly with our more advanced students.
Stephanie earned her B.A. in music from Truman State University and has been teaching piano for 13 years. In addition to teaching, she has accompanied soloists at district and state music festivals, and played piano for musical theater productions. Her other musical pursuits include playing violin in community orchestras and singing in the church choir. Inspired by a piano student with autism, Stephanie decided to study to become an occupational therapy assistant, earning her credential in 2019. She is passionate about the arts being accessible to people of all ages and abilities and loves bringing her knowledge and experience to Pianos for People.
Piano Accompanist, Bandleader, and Musician, Antonio Foster was born on September 6, 1995 to Terry Anderson and Kennie Stidmon in St. Louis, MO. In his youth he was inspired by his grandmother, who was a church pianist, to learn piano. Throughout his career, Foster has played for churches and jazz groups. Today he continues to educate students and perform with many local artists in the St. Louis area.
Eric started piano study at a young age and has directed and accompanied in several church music ministries since the age of nine. As a teenager, he studied at Alleda Ward Wells Music Studio and Community Music School. His studies continued at Florissant Valley Community College, Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University (B. Mus), and Indiana University (M. Mus with High Honors) where he continued to teach private and group lessons. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he returned to St. Louis and acquired his Music Education Certification from UMSL. Subsequently, he taught piano, vocal music, and AP Music Theory in schools throughout the St. Louis area. He has also held adjunct positions at Washington University and UMSL. In 2005, Eric began work on a Doctorate of Music Degree at the Conservatory of Music - University of Missouri: Kansas City. He has adjudicated for the Missouri Federation of Music Clubs and other competitions/contests. Currently, Eric considers himself retired from working in schools, but not retired from sharing his gift of piano playing and making music.
Kathy has been an independent music teacher since July 1, 1987, but a semi-retired music educator since July, 2019. She earned her BMEd. in 2000 at UMSL. She is certified to teach K-12 choral and music composition students in MO public, parochial and private schools. In previous teaching roles, she has taught K-12 and adult students piano and voice with a sub-focus of music theory and composition along with preparing students for bi-annual holiday performances for successful annual Missouri Music Festival auditions.
Alexis has been teaching with us since 2021, and studied Music Performance at Northern Illinois University. They received their piano education through a gospel pianist, Sis. Vera Land. Their career started through playing several jazz gigs in the St. Louis area as a high schooler and they gained experience from playing with different groups.
Luane began playing the piano by ear at age 5. After several years of traditional lessons, she began competing in regional and state competitions. She was also the main accompanist from her high school for vocalists and instrumentalists who competed in state competitions. Music remained an important part of her life even after she stopped taking lessons and competing. It was a respite in times of struggle, and a source of joy in everyday life. For the past 20+ years, she has served on the worship team at her church. Playing with a band composed of guitarists, drums, and vocalists has led her to develop new skills. When you are a musician, there are always things to learn, so she continues to be a lifelong learner in the wonderful and vast world of music!
Sara earned her AA and AFA in Music and General Studies at Jefferson College. She is currently earning her BM (ED) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has a history of studying Adolescent Psychology at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Sara is known for being a local Horn player and has studied with Cara Kizer and Christina Schempf. She has actively played the piano for seven years in numerous studios under the direction of Cathy Boemler and Alla Voskoboynikova. Sara has been a teacher at Pianos for People since September 2022 and currently teaches at the Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis, Illinois, and the Cherokee campus. Sara is a patient, kind, and creative teacher who inspires her students to be the best version of themselves inside and outside the classroom.
A native St. Louisan and University of Kansas graduate, (Bachelor of Music Education), Andrea briefly taught elementary and middle school music with the St. Louis Public and Confluence school districts. She resided and worked as a full time musician, recording artist, (9 CD’s) and piano/vocal instructor, (YTI Youth Theatre Interactives) in New York City for many years. She is also a singer/songwriter, flutist, self-published children’s book author and visual artist (The HumAnnity Collection). Andrea is the proud mother of two.
Joe is a K-12 Certified Vocal Music Educator. He has 13 years of classroom experience, having taught Pre-K through 5th grade General Music, as well as Middle and High School Choir and Piano Classes. He has been teaching private piano, voice, and guitar lessons since 2002. With a Masters of Science in Education in Counseling, Joe also brings decades of expertise in social emotional development, motivation in perseverance, and goal-setting to the broad scope of his music educating. Joe's mission is to provide access to the benefits of high-quality music education and to instill in each student, young and old, that music lives in each of us.