Review by Casey – Dad to almost 4 yr old Marshall and PDX Kids Calendar webmaster
Being a former professional drummer, I both enjoy and respect the benefits of rhythm and music in children’s learning and development. Watching children listen to music, drum on pots and pans, dance, and otherwise ‘get their wiggles out’ is part of the joys of being a parent. Ever since our son Marshall got his drum set, he and I have enjoyed having mock rock concerts in the living room (much to the chagrin of mommy sleeping in the other room).
Needless to say, when I heard about Kids Junk Orchestra at Salmon Street Studios, I jumped at the opportunity for Marshall to bang on some buckets with other kids in a place where they’re free to make as much noise as they so desire.
This five-week, 45-minute course teaches kids the fun of making music combined with the art of rhythm. Kids Junk Orchestra offers workshops for boys and girls anywhere from preschool to middle school. It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn improvisational music at its finest from industry professionals. Workshops are aimed at lighting a creative fire in your child and helping to promote a lifelong love of learning and creating.
Dennis Dove, a New York City native, was the instructor for our class. Part of the joy of our classes was having Dennis bring his own son into the class and see that the apple falls not far from the tree. Dennis got his start playing on Broadway as a principle actor/drummer in the hit Broadway show “Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk” at the young age of 16. He’s also performed at high profile sporting events such as the World Cup, as well as been featured on various national television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman.
Dennis shows tremendous patience with kids, and takes the time to make sure they are having fun, as well as progressing in the class. I really felt like no one was left out or left behind as the weeks progressed. I particularly enjoyed his inclusion of homework to the kids by giving them rhythms to work on at home. Marshall and I worked on a few of them during the week on his drum set to keep his chops fresh.
The skills that kids gain through learning basic rhythm combinations and drumming skills are great for any budding musician. Besides music, they also learn critical listening through music and classroom, as well as multicultural cooperation and learning.
In the last session, Dennis took the kids around the studio looking for other things to play drums on. Everything from a scaffold, to a trash can, to the floor – you name it, so long as it wasn’t fragile, it was capable of a beat. “Just remember,” said Dennis. “Be sure and ask your parents before you drum on something at home.”
I especially thanked Dennis for that last bit of advice!
Casey and Marshall attended the Spring 2012 session of Kids Junk Orchestra at no charge to experience and review it on behalf of PDX Kids Calendar.