x
Breaking News
More () »

Southeast Texas's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Southeast Texas, Texas | 12NEWSNOW.com

Harpsichord is a new addition to Joy of Music School

Free music lessons are possible with donated instruments and volunteer instructors
A donor gives the Joy of Music School a harpsichord.

(WBIR-KNOXVILLE) - Olivia Ellis has loved music as long as she can remember. A couple of years ago, she started taking lessons at the

Joy of Music School.

"Well, my dad tried teaching me, and that didn't work," she said.

Now she plays three instruments.

"I play violin and piano and harpsichord," she said.

Yes, harpsichord.

"I like that it's different. It's a different sound than the piano," she said.

Frank Graffeo is executive director of the Joy of Music School.

He explained: "We keep it in a very public spot so every kid walks by it, sees it, touches it, and I am amazed by how many of them have no idea what it is because it looks like a piano with the wrong colored keys and it's too small."

But then they play it, right outside his office.

"Oh, that sounds cool," he hears them say. "And then a kid will sit down and play something on it and I think it's doing exactly what it needs to do for us."

Olivia and the other students at the school have an opportunity to play this instrument because somebody donated it.

"I got an email from this woman named Adrienne Dessel and she said I would like to give the school a harpsichord and I remember thinking we don't have a harpsichord. We've never looked for one. We don't usually buy instruments because people donate them to us, so we were never shopping for one. And then I thought how wonderful for our keyboard kids to have a harpsichord here," he said. "It was built by her dad, John Brodsky, built and painted by her dad."

Olivia said: "I really liked how it was open and I really like the flowers in it. I really like this one because it is very pretty."

Some people donate instruments, while others give their time and their talents.

"We rely on volunteer teachers. We don't pay our teachers. So we have terrific people who give their time and energy and talent to the kids and we have a lot of churn because a lot of our teachers are UT students, so some of them are gone the following year," Frank said.

Summer is when the Joy of Music School recruits new music teachers.

"Not everybody can volunteer here. You've got to be a musician," he said.

Like Olivia's teacher.

"He's really nice and he really knows how to relate to me and how to get me to really think about what I'm playing," she said.

And one additional 'note' for Adrienne Dessel who donated the harpsichord.

"Thank you so much," Olivia said.

Right now about 50 children are on the waiting list for free music lessons at the Joy of Music School.