PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – There are classical music fans and rock fans, but imagine combining these two styles. One of the best rock concert violinists in the country does – and now he’s using his talents to teach students in Southeast Asia.
Aaron Meyer is a world renowned rock concert violinist. Classically trained violinist since the age of 5, Meyer made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at just 11 years old. In 1996 he joined the nationally renowned Portland group Pink Martini and then formed his own group in 2000.
Today, he also teaches music education at little or no cost to students in the Northwest and beyond through his non-profit organization, the Aaron Meyer School of Music.
âI’ve been doing music education for 20 years in Portland, doing music camps, private lessons, school assemblies, rock violin assemblies – school kids love it,â Meyer said. âWe are focused on providing these opportunities, lessons and tools to families in need. “
A few years ago, Aaron took a trip to Southeast Asia which inspired him to expand his program. In early 2020, he started teaching children in Myanmar to play the violin, but when the pandemic hit, he switched to online learning.
âI had students in other states and used to teach that way, so I immediately started classes on Skype,â he said. âThe children are doing wonderfully. They learn, they play. They can play 14 different scales and arpeggios and it works. They practice the violin, but play like a rock star. I have kids who play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star here in the Pacific Northwest and 8,000 miles away in Southeast Asia.
Aaron’s music has no borders. Each week, Meyer continues to log in from her Portland home studio to meet her students.
âA lot of them had never seen a violin before, so I love to see this breakthrough. I love to see how dedicated they are because the violin is not an easy instrument to learn,â said Meyer.
The program continues to grow and now includes 22 private students, more than double the number from last year. Aaron has also hired other musicians to teach guitar to students online or in safe situations for COVID.
âAll children love music. We may like different styles of music, but everyone likes some form of music. It really is a universal language, âsaid Meyer.
Meyer will be performing this weekend to help raise money for the program, to provide scholarships to students. The program’s annual fundraiser, Harmony in the Vineyard, takes place at Stoller Winery this Sunday at 7 p.m. The benefit concert will be broadcast live and in person, with a limited number of tickets available. All proceeds from the event will go to the AM Music School.
The event also includes an online auction and raffle. For more information, click here.