PORTLAND, Ore (KOIN) — With many schools facing budget issues, music education is often one of the first things to be cut — but one Portland program is free and bringing all sorts of diversity into local music classes.
They’re short, fun videos that cover a wide range of music genres, cultures and instruments. They’re being used in classrooms around the world, including in Portland public schools.
“I feel like they’re a fun and entertaining way to learn,” said Harper Williams, a seventh grader at Harriet Tubman Middle School. “Every time we watch them we have a whole conversation afterwards, so I think it adds more learning opportunities and we learn different stuff.”
On the day KOIN 6 visited Harriet Tubman Middle School in North Portland, the students were learning about Native American music through the Music Workshop program. It’s free — and created in the Portland area.
Music teacher Nancy Pierce told KOIN 6 she jumped at the chance to use it.
“With band, we play instruments, we learn a lot of music, but it’s lacking music history, different types of genres,” said Pierce. “[The program] really just supplements and gives the kids a well rounded experience.”
Amy Hall with Music Workshop said they started in 2013 with 10 schools in Portland and Beaverton. Now, Music Workshop has more than 2200 schools using it in all 50 states and 43 countries.
“Giving kids broad strokes of what’s out there so they can use music in their lives,” said Hall. “They can use music as a tool. They don’t have to be a musician or a rock star to have a musical life.”
The non-profit raises money throughout the year to produce and update the videos, exposing students to a broad spectrum of music so they are empowered to choose their own musical paths.
Music Workshop is free and downloadable. For more information on how to get it for your school, visit their website.