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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane libraries expand free music classes with Future Song Foundation grant

Selena and Myles Kennedy present a check to Andy Rumsey, music education specialist at the Spokane Public Library.  (Courtesy photo)

The Spokane Public Library will be able to significantly expand its free music lessons with a $13,500 grant from the Spokane-based Future Song Foundation, according to a Wednesday press release.

For six years, library card holders have been able to schedule one-on-one lessons with a music instructor employed by the local library system, getting a feel for guitar, bass, ukulele, piano and drums free of cost. The newly announced donation will allow the library to offer new 30-minute lesson slots, which were already offered from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and are now available 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

“This allows us to double our capacity from 15 to 30 lessons a week,” said Andy Rumsey, music education specialist for the library. “We are an institution of learning, where people can learn and grow and experience things to enrich their lives – music instruction and education fits right into that mission.”

Currently, Rumsey is the only music teacher employed by the library and oversees the lessons available on Tuesdays. The number of lessons he could offer were limited after the downtown Central Library began offering recording studio rentals, according to the Wednesday press release. The Future Song Foundation grant will allow the library to hire a second teacher, Jason Perry, to hold weekend lessons.

“I like to come at teaching with a well-rounded perspective,” Perry said in a brief Wednesday interview. “I don’t think it’s just about technical excellence or deep theoretical knowledge, which are useful tools, but I teach grounded in the joy of expressions and the journey of finding in us what there is to express.”

Perry is a local musician and music teacher who locals may know as the eponymous member of the Jason Perry Band, whose 2021 EP “Picnic Before the Apocalypse,” was featured by The Spokesman-Review.

Perry said his jaw dropped when he first saw Rumsey perform nearly a decade ago during a show at Boots Bakery and Lounge, and that the two have shared a performance bill a few times since. He first heard about the potential teaching job during a tour last summer of the library’s music facilities.

“It’s such a wonderfully outfitted facility, from the instruments they have to the recording capabilities,” Perry said. “It’s just top-notch.”

Despite the quality of the facilities and the opportunity for free lessons, Rumsey said many aren’t aware of the music programs the library offers. Students don’t need to have any instruments to sign up, and can even check out and bring home guitars, a drum pad, ukuleles or other instruments through Spokane Public Library’s “Library of Things.”

Students can be of any age, though Rumsey generally recommends they be older than 10. To sign up for a lesson, visit

The Future Song Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by award-winning musician, composer and teacher Joe Brasch and Alter Bridge singer-songwriter and guitarist Myles Kennedy. In 2018, the organization donated 80 guitars and 20 keyboards to bolster music programs at four Spokane high schools.