Piano Sessions

We partner with professional musicians, university professors, and musically gifted students to offer 10 weeks of group-based music sessions for veterans, service members, and military families interested in learning to play the piano. During the first hour of lessons, our instructors teach an instrument to the vets in the class, and in the second hour, vets receive additional support from our student TAs. Rather than merely learning scales and chords, veterans and their musical partners collaborate with one another to work toward a music-related goal. Upon completion of the course, alumni keep their keyboards, and are encouraged to attend monthly sessions with ASAP's patient and supportive teacher's assistants. With the support of Southeast Virginia Community Foundation's Chisholm House Fund, Piano sessions are currently operating out of William & Mary's Ewell Hall in the Hampton Roads Area.

Piano Alumni Meet-ups

Hampton Roads

  • When: Saturday, Feb 18 - 11am - 12PM

    • Where: Ewell Piano Lab
  • When: Saturday, March 18 - 11AM - 12PM

    • Where: Ewell Piano Lab
  • When: Saturday, April 8 - 11AM - 12PM

    • Where: Ewell Piano Lab


I am a Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient of the Vietnam War. When my helicopter was shot down by enemy gunfire and my copilot was killed, it seems like just yesterday. I relive it just about everyday and suffer greatly with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My instructor with the guitar class knows that I am a war veteran and is very considerate in our progress. Man, what a difference it makes when someone has your best interest at hand.
— Jim Cornish | US Army | Vietnam War
Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a passion for music. When I was injured back in 2003, music, and my faith, gave me a reason to keep going. Because of this class, my dream to be able to play my own music has now become a reality. I deal with PTSD/TBI symptoms daily and have been on a search for a mental “excercise” to help my memory. Music, as I have now found out, is for sure an amazing fit.

The course was mapped out well to assist with those of all levels of knowledge and talents. The no pressure atmosphere helped to take off the edge that I sometimes experience with my anxiety, and I was extremely appreciative of all the one-on-one assistance that was offered by the extra staff on hand. Practice makes perfect, and I know everything I have taken away from this course will not only be enjoyable to practice, but will also serve a dual benefit in my continual recovery.”
— Jessenia Smith | US Navy | Post-9/11
The piano class was a confidence builder for me, especially overcoming the challenge of the public performance. The lessons were great, it was very relaxing to play, and I appreciated the program’s flexibility, which helped me build on MY objectives.
— Doug Matze Jr. | US Army | Vietnam War
I suffer from Chronic PTSD from my two tours in Iraq. I was blown up by a suicide bomber in 2004 - 14 soldiers where killed and over 70 injured. This has put my mind in a place not to trust anyone, and I avoid people and crowds when possible. I am always on alert and it is hard for me to relax.

On the day of my first guitar class, my anxiety was through the roof. As the class progressed, I started to relax with the support of my instructor and classmates. Playing the guitar took me to a safe place in my mind, and with the way the instructor conducted the class, I could set myself at ease and actually enjoy the lessons. Now, whenever I play the guitar, I can escape to my safe place, and for that, I am forever grateful.
— Mark Pratt | USMC, US Army | Iraq War
I’ve been downrange four times since 9/11, and have always wanted to try and translate some of my emotions into song. I’ve messed around on the guitar, but never learned any music fundamentals. This class gave me those skills. The bonus of participating in the Veterans Guitar Class was meeting veterans of all generations. An instructor who played music in the same combat zones as I to my front, a helicopter mechanic who served in Vietnam to my right, and to my left...a tank crewman who served at the same German post as I, just 20 years before my service. This was a great course.
— Armando Velasquez | US Army | Iraq War