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PDX Pop Now! Programs in Local Schools

Expanding participation in Portland’s vibrant music community is at the core of the PDX Pop Now! mission. It’s also arguably the most integral to sustaining our diverse, local scene, and provides the inspiration behind our school events.

These events aim to evoke interest and appreciation for music within our community by focusing on the K-12 student population. Our educational programming reaches out to these young audiences by putting Portland’s creative capital front-and-center in gymnasiums, cafeterias and classrooms across the city.

Picture a mini PDX Pop Now! coming to your school, featuring two to four live performances by local musicians. And, you can’t shake a fist at the hands-on classroom workshops, guest speakers and curriculum-relevant programming provided through our community partners Ethos Music Center, The Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls, Vibe of Portland, Film Action Oregon, My Music Voice, and many more.

To date, we’ve visited Parkrose Middle School and Boise-Eliot Elementary with artists ranging from hip-hop emcee Luck One to the avant-jazz band Blue Cranes. Between performing and teaching, the artists even talk one-on-one with students. It’s a large reason why teachers, administrators, parents and students are raving about the programming. In some cases, the school events have even caused an immediate uptick in students signing up for band and choir.

Our goal is to approach young people as both supporters and collaborators by means of exposure and experience. For most kids it marks their first experience with live, local music—let alone, live music altogether. But, more importantly, many of these students will engage in the music community not just as listeners, show-goers and fans, but as creators as well. Our events have the ability to transform music from a corporate commodity into a malleable art being created by neighbors, classmates and friends—it’s an extremely empowering perspective.

Best of all, like much of what we do, the event is FREE to both the school and the kids. This charitable programming is instrumental in a time when funding for the arts is diminishing in schools. These events help to fill the gaps that repeated budget cuts have inflicting on music education in our public schools. Music education plays a vital role in developing self-discipline and more complex cognitive skills such as problem-solving, evaluation, and analysis. It also helps ensure a cultured, engaged citizenry. And we think everyone can get down with that.

Throughout history, some of the most engaging, influential and robust regional musical communities have been driven by the enthusiasm and creativity of people under 21. In Portland, a lack of viable all-ages venues means that valuable demographic isn’t experiencing live music, and are often muted in our creative culture.

Email us if you have any ideas or suggestions about PDX Pop Now!’s school-based programs, or would like to set up an event in your school.

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