Cascade School of Music: Note By Note

The Contributions of Cascade School of Music

Cascade School of Music

By Phil Busse

Every year, Cascade School of Music works with nearly 500 students—which is, quite simply, teaching more than one youth in Central Oregon about music every single day of the year.

The school teaches youth of all ages, from all walks of life, in all types of instruments—from piano and violin, to drums, guitar, and woodwinds. And it is not only music—and the fun and joy that playing music brings—but it is a critical contribution to individuals’ psychological and neurological development, as research has clearly indicated that learning music helps develop robust cognitive and concentration skills.

Fittingly, the tagline for Cascade School of Music is “the sound of human potential,” a slogan that Arlene Gibson, the school’s director of development, marketing and events, says starts with the idea that “humans have tremendous creative potential, and that unlocking that potential is a big part of realizing who we are.” She adds, “Students are so expressive when they play an instrument, even when they are just beginners.”

Gibson talks about a recent recital in late January, when Cascade’s “School of Rock” bands performed at 2nd Street Theater. She points to one student in particular—a pre-teen who, she says, clearly had natural talent. But, Gibson adds, the teachers also discovered that the boy had been abused and abandoned by his birth parents.

“The one thing that really stood out about him was that he never smiled,” she recalls. “Even though his instructor was one of the funniest people at our school, nobody could get this kid to even grin.”

But at the recent recital, this young boy fronted one of the rock bands.

“Following his performance,” explains Gibson, “when the theater lit up with applause, so did this kid; it was the first time anyone from the school had seen him

She adds, “We know music is changing the lives of all of the students here.”

Private and group, band and orchestra, from birth to adult, lessons are available at Cascade School of Music. For more information, visit

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