Music Lessons at Gilliam Place Hit the Right Note

Fifteen APAH residents – six adults and nine children – are making music as the first to receive full scholarships for private guitar or piano lessons. Instruments are generously loaned to students for their weekly lessons and at-home practice. The new program mirrors the Arlington Public School schedule and runs for 32 weeks, culminating in a recital that will take place in June.

Music student and APAH resident Carson, age 5, has tried both guitar and piano lessons. “To see the joy in his face makes me so happy that we have this opportunity. Carson enjoys playing with the other instruments at the end of his lessons, too,” said his mom, Monique.

Abby Madden, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) Minister of Music, recognized a need in the community during the pandemic, and sought funding to employ local musicians while teaching Gilliam Place residents new skills. Abby heads the music lesson program and loves providing accessible art and a creative outlet while also providing opportunities for musicians in Arlington to teach.

“They really want to be here,” Abby said of the students. “The environment is informal and relaxed, which encourages deeper learning. There is no pressure or penalty for missing a lesson, just enjoyment of music and the instrument.” Music encourages discipline and the program fosters stability and the students look forward to their weekly creative outlet. Students build confidence as music that once seemed impossible becomes playable thanks to practice and fosters community as neighbors and families bond over their new art.

APAH Resident Services Coordinator, Erin Brown, noted that she only hears positive feedback from Gilliam Place residents. “They are grateful that this is offered to them, there’s now a wait list to join!”

To learn more about this program or how you can support it, please contact Abby Madden at