Learning an instrument might seem as foreign as learning a new language. That's why Youth Music Project — a nonprofit organization in West Linn that provides music education to children — aims to ease the nerves of new musicians in a comfortable environment.
Youth will have the opportunity to test-drive instruments during the nonprofit's open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.
The public is invited to meet the music instructors, explore different instruments like the guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, piano and violin, and demo the early childhood classes offered at YMP.
There also will be karaoke and live music performed by YMP's Intern Band — interns that assist with music classes, co-run the monthly teen open mic night, and are in the band that gets together weekly with an instructor.
"We've been around in the community for seven years. A lot of people who have been here know about us," said Travis Magrane, YMP's executive director. "We want to open the doors so people who don't know about us can come here. … Music is such an important part of development for kids, and we believe strongly in it."
YMP hosted an open house a couple years ago after the building had been renovated, but Magrane hopes the open house will become an annual event to introduce residents outside of West Linn to the opportunities the nonprofit offers.
Parents can check out a 30-minute demonstration of the early childhood program for children ages 1-5. There will be different activities and music shakers and percussion instruments available for kids. There also will be a sing-along.
"Those are little ones who are working on developing motor skills," Magrane said. "It's an activities-based class."
In the early childhood classes, children can learn about pitch, rhythm, play musical games and participate in song-related art projects.
If a child is slightly older than 5, parents also can learn about the other options the early childhood program has available for older kids. YMP students don't start instrument classes until age 6.
During the open house, there will be an instrument and used book sale. Over the years, YMP has collected instruments it has no use for, or instruments that have been donated.
"We are going to provide those back out to the community," Magrane said.
There will be 30 to 40 used instruments — mainly string instruments — for sale, along with songbooks. All the proceeds will go toward YMP.
The open house is free, and first-time students who sign up for a group class will receive a 10% discount. Folks who attend the open house can enter a drawing to win a karaoke machine.
For more information about YMP, visit https://www.youthmusicproject.org/.
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