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.
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.
Bailey Salinero is an active violinist, teacher, and non-profit professional. Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, she studied Violin Performance and Arts Administration at Florida State University before moving to St. Louis in 2018. Bailey has previously worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Chamber Music Festival, and Network for Strong Communities. She also continues to teach violin part-time at the Community Music School of Webster University and the Kirkwood Strings Program. A passionate advocate for arts and culture and heavily influenced by her pianist father, Bailey instantly felt connected to the mission of Pianos for People and joined the staff in July of 2023. In her spare time, she spends time with her husband and daughter, fosters dogs, and continues to discover new things to explore in St. Louis.
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.
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 in 1995 to Terry Anderson and Kennie Stidmon in St. Louis, MO. In his youth he was inspired to learn piano by his grandmother, who was a church pianist. Antonio's passion for jazz led him to Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and Jazz St. Louis’ JazzU Program. Under the mentorship of East St. Louis native Reggie Thomas, he honed his skills, emerging as one of St. Louis’ top jazz pianists and keyboardists. 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.
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!
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.
Michelle Hedges has been giving private lessons for over 30 years. She was born into a musical family and started taking piano lessons at age 4. Her love affair with brass instruments began at age 12 when she began playing trombone at school. Her neighbor approached her at age 16 to give her daughter piano lessons and Michelle has never stopped teaching since. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone Performance from Southeast Missouri State University. Michelle has had experience and success teaching people with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, and high functioning Autism. Teaching kids to read music is her passion.