Virginia teen gives kids gift of playing piano for free in back of dad's auto shop

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Posted at 4:14 PM, Aug 10, 2021

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A 16-year-old girl in Virginia is taking action to teach the gift of music.

You can hear the sounds of Beethoven coming from the back room of Harris Tire Service in Portsmouth.

Elizabeth Pouloutides turned the back office at her dad’s auto shop into a place to teach piano to other kids.

She has been playing since she was 5 years old. She said playing has helped her in school and has helped her develop and overcome any type of stage fright.

“I love it. It’s a great way to almost meditate,” said Pouloutides. “Just let yourself play; practice for hours if I wanted to. That’s a good way to really distress.”

She wanted to give the gift of playing the piano to other kids.

“I read a long time ago just how beneficial piano is for developing kids' brains,” said Pouloutides. “I knew that piano lessons are expensive. They’re not accessible to everyone, but I can provide it for free.”

First, she asked her dad for the space. She said the room in the back was being used for storage and was a mess. She and her mom cleaned it up and transformed it.

“It is rather strange to have an automotive repair shop and tire sales and musical instruction occurring in the same location. That’s not a very common thing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before, but there’s a first time for everything,” said John Pouloutides, Elizabeth’s dad.

They found a used piano on Craigslist, and the guys at the shop helped move it into the back room.

So far, she said has two students and gives 45-minute lessons. She calls her organization Piano to Excel.

“I want to make this successful and give back to my community. I just thought I could combine one of my passions and something I can provide,” said Pouloutides.

This story was originally published by Margaret Kavanagh at WTKR.