Students Sound Winning Note on Lessons

Student survey reveals overall satisfaction with program

Play It Forward students expressed a wide range of positive reactions to their classes in a recent survey.

In February, PIF gave a list of five questions to children enrolled in lessons at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and KairosPDX public schools in North Portland. The children indicated everything from a desire for fun to a desire to bond with family inspired them to study piano, guitar or ukulele.

“I get to learn new music, and it’s cool to know how to mix sounds together,” one child wrote on their survey.

“My great grandma was teaching me how to play piano, and she loved to play piano, and when she died, I decided to continue playing piano,” wrote another.

Play It Forward is already using the survey information to help it tell its story to donors and funders, notes Executive Director Marietta Harrison. “We do this work solely to make sure as many kids as possible receive the gift of playing music,” she says. “The survey answers confirmed our belief that instrumental education, early in life, gives kids the tools they need to become the very best they can be.”

Here’s a sample of some of the student’s answers.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?

“My mom played piano and I’ve always wanted to try piano.”

“I like piano; I like the sound of the notes and hearing it in songs.”

“I wanted to learn because my dad said if I learned an instrument, we could start our own band. Then he bought me a keyboard and taught me how to play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’”

“When I grow up, I want to be a triple threat and musician, so if I want to do that, I have to learn an instrument.”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENT THAT YOU MOST ENJOY?

“I like doing different things, making different sounds, making new songs.”

“Using my fingers to make fun sounds is fun!”

“Learning new songs on the piano is fun, we can do all kinds of cool things like making different pitches.”

“I feel accomplished when I play a song correctly during practice!”

“How each individual key makes its own sound; when I play them together it sounds really cool, and seems like a big accomplishment.”

“I enjoy how you start a piece, and you think about how you would never get done. Then you play it a few times and then its music! The fruits of my labor!”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT LEARNING TO WRITE MUSIC THAT YOU MOST ENJOY?

“It’s more interesting to write it MY way.”

“I like that I get to play it, and if people like it, I could even get paid for it one day.”

“Because it’s the kind of music I like and it’s my choice. It brings me joy when I get to create my own music because it gets me thinking about how I will be good at piano one day. Makes me feel happy to listen to my own song and think wow I wrote that.”

“It feels like a happy magic world.”

HAS PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT HELPED YOU IN OTHER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE, IN YOUR CLASSES OR AT HOME?

“I can play piano with my parents at home for fun.”

“It is so, so fun, and I won’t need a phone to entertain myself.”

“Yes, it helped me at math.”

“Practicing piano makes my fingers more flexible, and it helps me focus better at things.”

“Reading notes is not easy, but it helps my reading skill.”

“Learning piano makes me able to play duets with my mom at home, playing piano helps my mind to be calm and focus while I’m practicing.”

“It helps me relax and makes me not think about your problems.”

“Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I can use the piano to help calm me down.”

IF YOU WERE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT PLAY IT FORWARD, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

“The teachers care about you, and getting through your songs, and your progress.”

“That it is a place to learn how to play instruments.”

“That it’s a great program, and they should try it out.”

“You should try learning piano and see you’re getting better! It is amazing to learn an instrument!

“This class is exciting and interesting, it’s also surprising! I recommend my friends to try this class!”

“I just love to play with my teacher!”

“Playing piano is so, so fun!”

“I love piano and this special class!”

“It is a great class, you should try!”

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