"Playing the piano and being part of KEYS is fun. It gives me new experiences and opportunities." Seventh Grade Student

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“The KEYS program has proven to be extremely beneficial to our students, not only musically, but socially as well. Students have developed self-confidence and motivation as a result of this program. The relationship between the KEYS program and Beardsley School is a true partnership. We are working together with the students as our focus.” Amy Marshall, Principal, Beardsley School

KEYS History

Spring 2004 – KEYS was founded by Rob Silvan who volunteered to teach piano to four students at Columbus School in Bridgeport.

2004 – 2005 – KEYS hired two professional music teachers and the program expanded to 16 students. The first KEYS recital was held in June 2005.

2005 – 2006 – KEYS received instrument donations, individual contributions, and its first foundation grants. Violin instruction was added at Columbus, and KEYS initiated its program at Beardsley School, growing to 23 students.
2006 - 2007 – The program expanded to four teachers and added cello lessons. KEYS grew to 52 4th through 6th graders. Several students were given scholarships to study during the summer at Talent Education Suzuki School in Norwalk, CT.

2007 - 2008 – KEYS expanded to over 60 students and 6 teachers, and introduced a group recorder class. KEYS facilitated the donation of two pianos from the Westport Music Center which remain a highly visible aspect of school life both for participating students and their schoolmates.

2008 - 2009 - KEYS added a strings program as well as ten 2nd and 3rd graders to the piano program at Beardsley School; created an after-school program for middle schoolers at Marin School; started a piano program at Johnson School; and started an after-school practice program for elementary-aged students. KEYS served over eighty students in it’s group recorder and private lessons.

2009 - 2010 – KEYS grew to over 100 students in private and group lessons combined; added private classical guitar, and began after-school group musical theater and vocal programs. In addition, music students from Staples High School began teaching music fundamentals to children in the after-school program.

2010-2011 – KEYS served over 100 children in the private lesson program and another fifty in its group lesson programs. This included a new violin program at Johnson School; expansion of private lessons at Beardsley and Columbus Schools; and a new violin program at the Discovery Magnet School. KEYS also helped set up an orchestra chimes class with two local non-profits.  KEYS will also held several workshops with the Fairfield Theater Company.  With a grant from the Independent Education Consultants Association KEYS hired a volunteer coordinator to recruit and work with volunteers from local high schools and colleges.

2011-2012:  KEYS developed a started a chorus of 60 Horizons 2nd-6th graders and a drumming team of 30 middle-school boys at the Greens Farms affiliate of Horizons National, helped salvage Barnum School’s summer music camp which had experienced serious cutbacks, started programs at the Roosevelt School and several others schools to reach a total of nearly 400 students.  KEYS continued its workshop program with the Fairfield Theatre Company.

2012-2013:  KEYS served over 500 students at 12 Bridgeport public schools in private and group lessons,  and through its work with Horizons.  KEYS started an orchestra for its strings students with the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, continued holding workshops in collaboration with the Fairfield Theatre Company, worked with the SOAR music camp, and expanded its instrument offerings to include sax, clarinet, and trumpet.