My 9-year-old son is a huge fan of the Portland Timbers, and his current life goal is to be a Timbers drummer. He takes his own small drum to the games and practices drumming the chants at home with passion and fervor that makes me fear for my hearing. I finally decided it was time to look for lessons to help turn his noise into music.
After scouring the internet for children’s drum lessons in our area and speaking with a few different places, we landed on Backbeat Music Academy. I was drawn to the academy because of the passion, knowledge, and kindness of the owner when I spoke to him on the phone. Prices were reasonable, starting at $140 per month for a 30-minute lesson each week. They also offer the unique flexibility of doing lesson online, either all the time or just when needed, which is handy in the era of COVID as well as busy life in general. If you do need to cancel a lesson, you are issued a lesson credit that you can use with any of their teachers at a time convenient for you.
Backbeat has teachers with a wide range of professional experience in an array of music styles. We chose a teacher who sounded like a good fit for my son for his free trial lesson. The lesson focused on exploration and emphasized the nature of learning and skills that build upon each other. Although he hasn’t been a student there long, we have experienced online lessons and worked with a different teacher on one occasion. All have been great experiences.
Lessons are fun, learning is incorporated in a natural way, and my son loved that drumsticks were immediately in his hands. They use popular and rock music to learn different beats and grooves. The teacher plays along on a guitar, emphasizing the cooperative and collaborative nature of music. Information about technique is woven in, and guided questioning helps students play an active role in the learning process. Mistakes are viewed as part of learning and are embraced. My son’s many, many questions are taken seriously and given thoughtful and informed answers.
Overall, my son is loving it. He has fun, is proud of himself, and is excited to share what he is learning. Our house may be much louder than it previously was, but I already hear growth and love seeing his joy in learning something new. I have a feeling we will be visiting Backbeat for the foreseeable future. Will he become a rock star down the road? Chances seem slim. But he will have fun, his confidence will grow, and his brain will make new connections, so I call that a win!
Music Lessons in PDX
Whatever instrument interests your child, there are many places around town that can get them started on their musical journey.
Backbeat Music Academy
They offer drum, voice, ukulele, piano, guitar, trumpet/trombone, and violin/cello lessons as well as ‘try everything’ classes, rock band classes, and seasonal camps. Some instruments available for rent. In person and online lessons available.
Where: 9575 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, Suite B20, Beaverton
Eliason School of Music
Cello, violin, guitar, and piano lessons. In person and online lessons available.
Where: 2929 SW Multnomah Blvd, Ste 101, Portland
Ethos Music Center
A non-profit organization aiming to make music accessible to all children. Accordion, autoharp, banjo, bass, cello, clarinet, drum, flute, french horn, guitar, hand drumming, hip hop production, mandolin, marimba, piano, music production, recorder, rock band, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, ukelele, viola, violin, and voice lessons available, as well as other programming and summer camps. Sliding scale fee available. Instruments available for rent.
Where: 2 N Killingsworth, Portland
Forte Music School
Piano, guitar, drum, voice, and violin lessons. In person and online lessons available.
Where: 15280 NW Central Drive, Beaverton
Piano, guitar, and voice lesions. Summer workshops are also offered.
Where: 12660 NW Cornell Rd, Portland
In-Home Music Lessons
Online or in your home. Primarily guitar, but other instruments may be available. They will provide a guitar for the first three months as you gauge your student’s interest before investing in a a guitar.
Where: Virtual or in your home
Keys to Life Music School
Piano, voice, drum, ukulele, guitar, strings, drums, and bass lessons. Summer programming is also offered.
Where: 3 locations in northeast Portland and 1 in Beaverton.
Portland Music School
Group keyboard lessons.
Where: 4848 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Portland
Where: Currently online only.
School of Rock
Guitar, drum, singing, and bass guitar lessons available, as well as summer camps and workshops.
Where: Locations in southeast Portland and Lake Oswego
Vesper School of Music
Guitar, violin, ukelele and piano lessons. In person and online classes available.
Where: 4506 SE Belmont, Suite B5, Portland.