After examining the evidence it’s not surprising Portland takes it’s music scene so seriously. With a long lineage of great musicians from the Decemberists to M. Ward, Viva Voce, and The Dandy Warhols, there’s no shortage of inspiration. Let’s not forget, nearly every home in town holds the potential for a totally awesome basement practice space. So this is a call to all Portland future musical maestros, grab your sticks and your picks, and let’s get rockin’.

Rookie Rock at Treehouse for the 0 to 6 crowd

Toddlers can break in their blue suede shoes with Rookie Rock at Treehouse four days a week. Be ready to shake, rattle, and roll with some of Portland’s favorite kindie rockers. The current line-up includes the rock stylings of Johnny Keener, the funky beats of Tyleena Fairyfunk Mother, soulful country tunes with Taya Jacobs, and Americana roots rock with Mo Phillips. This one hour rockstravaganza includes a big basket of musical instruments so kids and parents can join in. Shows start at 10am every day except Tuesdays (when Treehouse holds regular weekly toddler art classes). It’s just $5 per kid ages 0 – 6.

Vibe of Portland Unites Art & Music 

Dedicated to inspiring creativity in Portland youth, Vibe of Portland introduces kids to general art and materials as well as a variety of music classes ranging from piano and guitar to choir. Started to supplement the lacking art and music classes in many public schools in the Portland/Vancouver area, Vibe now shares a passion for creativity with kids ages K-8.

With affordable lessons and small class sizes, your budding musicians really get one on one attention. Some scholarships are available, so check the website for details.

Sound Roots School of Music Now Delivers

Kids, gather your guitars, drums, keyboards and bass. Sound Roots is goin’ mobile! Once located on North Williams, they’ve picked up their roots to bring their power of rock signed, sealed, and delivered to your door. With tailored-to-fit private group lessons, and a team of pro musician teachers at the ready, you assemble the band and Sound Roots will come straight to your door and help mould your little rockers into Portland’s next big thing. They have a knack for helping kids craft their own musical style and focus on songwriting techniques. Along with group and private lessons, Sound Roots offers winter and summer rock camps in some über cool venues and practice spaces around town. The next camp on the schedule runs December 26-29 and will be at the YWCA building downtown.

Ethos Music Center One-Stop Shopping

If fashion really does run on a 20 year trend cycle, we predict the 80’s saxaphone solo will be coming back in style somewhere around the year 2020. That gives your kid about 8 more years to hone their saxaphone skills to be market ready for some serious sax. With an army of instructors at their beck and call, there’s no instrument they can’t tackle. Etho’s huge three-story building in North Portland is home to private and group classes ranging from tamborine to tuba. This non-profit musical epicenter has amassed a huge library where kids can borrow instruments for the duration of their class sessions. And If electronics is what gets your kid jumping, The Hip-Hop and Urban Music Project™ (THUMP) will get their blood pumping. Tiny Teslas can toy around with samplers, drum machines, and a smorgasbord of digital audio software programs. Kids learn about hip hop styles, break dancing, djing, with a bit of video editing thrown into the mix.

Musicwerks Studio Foundations and Fun

What do Eddie Van Halen, Nora Jones, Randy Rhodes, and Ben Folds have in common? They were all classically trained. At MusicWerks Studios in Northeast Portland, the instructors are steeped in all kinds of old thymey music, from classical piano, to jazz and blues. They know how to bridge the gap between today’s music and teaching strong foundations so that whatever music’s future holds, you kids will have the building blocks to keep current. If your kid’s heart beats to a different kind of drum, perhaps their Samba camp is the place to play. Pipsqueaks, there’s fun for you here too. Though the general consensus is that kids aren’t really ready for formal lessons until about age 5, they can still get a head start. Kids three to five get to tickle the ivories in the Piano Pixies class, designed to introduce musical instruments through fun games and activities.

School of Rock for Stage Hams

Was your kid born for the stage? School of Rock’s performance program gets them stage ready in no time. With a team of seasoned professional musicians, they combine group and private lessons where kids 7 and up can learn a set list and ultimately perform in front of a live audience. School of Rock is on Southeast Hawthorne.

Family Band at Music Together

Did you play Mozart for your little one when they were an infant? Then you probably agree it’s never too early to foster a love of music in your little ones. Family Music at Music Together gets parents or caregivers and kiddos a chance to learn and play together through musical exploration. From rhythm basics to rhyming, chants, and instrument play, it feels more like 45 minutes of playtime rather than a music lesson. And we all for having fun and learning at the same time.

One little article can’t do justice to all the great music teachers out there. Where are your kids flexing their musical muscles?

— Alanna Risse