PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are fans of classical music and fans of rock music, but imagine bringing those two styles together. That’s what one of the nation’s top concert rock violinists is doing — and now he’s using his talents to teach students in Southeast Asia.
Aaron Meyer is a world-renowned concert rock violinist. A classically trained violinist since age 5, Meyer debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra at just 11-years-old. In 1996, he joined the nationally renowned, Portland band Pink Martini and later went on to form his own band in 2000.
Today, he’s also teaching music education at little or no cost to students in the Northwest and beyond through his non-profit the Aaron Meyer School of Music.
“I’ve been doing music education for 20 years in Portland, doing music camps, private lessons, assemblies in schools, rock violin assemblies — the school kids totally dig it,” Meyer said. “We focus on providing those opportunities, lessons and instruments for families in need.”
A few years ago, Aaron took a trip to Southeast Asia that inspired him to expand his program. In early 2020, he began teaching violin to kids in Myanmar, but when the pandemic hit he made the switch to online learning.
“I’ve had students in other states and was used to teaching that way, so I just immediately started classes on Skype,” he said. “The kids are doing amazing. They’re learning, they’re playing. They can play over 14 different scales and arpeggios and it works. They’re practicing violin, but playing like a rock star. I’ve got kids playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star here in the Pacific Northwest and 8,000 miles away in Southeast Asia.”
Aaron’s music has no borders. Every week, Meyer continues to log on from his Portland home studio to meet with his students.
“A lot of them had never even seen a violin before, so I love seeing that breakthrough. I love seeing how dedicated they are — because the violin is not an easy instrument to learn,” Meyer said.
The program continues to grow and now includes 22 private students, more than double the number from last year. Aaron has also hired fellow musicians to teach students guitar online or in COVID-safe situations.
“All kids love music. We might like different styles of music, but everybody loves some form of music. It truly is a universal language,” Meyer said.
Meyer will be performing this weekend to help raise funds for the program, to offer scholarships to students. The program’s annual fundraiser, Harmony in the Vineyard takes place at Stoller Winery this Sunday at 7 p.m. The benefit concert will be live-streamed and in-person, with a limited number of tickets available. All the proceeds from the event will go to the AM School of Music.
The event also includes an online auction and raffle. For more information, click here.