PSU students share musical insight

It wasn’t the pitter-patter of little feet that came barreling up the stairs of Lincoln Hall on Friday. Rather it was the stomping of 22 eager fourth graders. As they reached the third floor, they were greeted by 18 PSU music students who taught them rhythms and songs. Within five minutes they were stomping and clapping out beats in unison and making music. The kids were having so much fun with their mentors that they hardly noticed they were learning the fundamentals of making music.

The children came to PSU through a partnership with an organization called Self Enhancement Incorporated (SEI), which serves over 4,500 students in North Portland. SEI’s aim is to provide after-school activities which promote a child’s strength of character and serve to keep them off the streets and out of gangs. This was the first field trip PSU initiated for the children and also the first time many of the students had set foot on a college campus, or had the chance to interact with college students.

During SEI’s time at PSU, the mentors instructed the kids on how to play basic notes on keyboards, clap out beats and drum. Rob Melton, a junior at PSU majoring in music education, taught the children how to make rain and storm sounds on overturned Tillamook ice cream buckets. There was also a guest appearance by Judy Rose, Lincoln High School’s music teacher. Rose taught the children how to sing and sign a song she wrote for the PSU/SEI Summer Music Camp.

The camp has been held at PSU each summer since 1994, and has been recognized for its achievements, winning the National Outstanding Summer Programs award, as well as many regional awards. Another camp will be held this summer from July 22 through 26 for SEI second through fourth graders. Those with any questions or inquiries into becoming a mentor may contact the camp’s founder, Mary Kogen, at her e-mail address, [email protected].

Kogen commented that she saw a few children on Friday who would be strong candidates for the summer camp scholarship. The child who shows the most interest in music and desire to learn receives a piano in his or her home and free piano lessons until graduation from high school.

The field trip was an opportunity for PSU students to reach out to their community and for the children to have positive learning experiences with active young adults.