Liane Pieffer Rockley ’94
Vice President, Rockley Music Center and Rockley Family Foundation

Musician believes every child deserves music education

Liane Pieffer Rockley (B.M. ’94) and her husband have a very musical marriage. She studied flute performance at UMKC; he studied clarinet and saxophone performance at the University of Northern Colorado.

Now they spend their days making sure other students have the same opportunities they did.

Rockley and her husband run the Rockley Family Foundation and the Rockley Music Center in Lakewood, Colo. Together they provide instruments and funding for students in need.

At first, the program served only Colorado, but it quickly grew.

“We were getting calls from across the country from people who said ‘my friend at CU-Boulder said you had this program,’ and they’d be in Delaware,” Rockley says. “We realized there was a need for instruments and scholarship monies across the country.”

The Foundation has donated nearly $17 million to fund music education across the country. Rockley recalls one mother who had taken the bus with her two children — one of whom was autistic — to buy a piano.

“One of these staff members was showing them a piano and the little boy’s eyes were just lighting up,” she says. “He was so engaged, and the mom just had tears in her eyes seeing her son so enthralled with music.”

The woman had trouble getting financing, so the Foundation stepped in to cover the remaining cost.

“She just started sobbing. … There are hundreds of stories like that one.”

Rockley says her experience with the Rockley Music Foundation has inspired her to push for music in all schools. She believes music can help curb violence, bullying and other problems children face.

“Seeing these stories about how positive music is in everybody’s lives makes me really do more — be that advocate — and try to get that music access to everyone.”

Rockley and her husband also loan instruments to UMKC and fund scholarships for students who can’t afford to go to college. She believes giving children access to music is an essential part of educating the “whole child.”

“Music and the arts are an essential part of the human experience,” she says. “Not all children have access to music and the arts, and therefore miss out on essential experiences.”


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