Multi-talented musician opens Washougal School of Music

Jeffree White provides guitar, piano, mandolin and ukulele lessons

A Washougal man who has taught music for 30 years and performed with more than 80 bands has opened a music school in Washougal.

Jeffree White provides guitar, piano, mandolin and ukulele lessons at the Washougal School of Music, which opened in April.

Instead of teaching from standard instruction books, White has created hundreds of original visual aids, worksheets and exercises to facilitate individualized learning.

He uses his own experiences to better understand what students might need in their lessons.

“I’ve looked through many instructional books and usually find them to be impractical or too esoteric,” White says. “Piano and guitar both offer visual, pattern-based approaches which may be utilized to immediately make music, without having to learn to read notation, which is a cumbersome task in itself.”

White works with students of all ages and abilities. The Washougal School of Music offers a sliding scale to lower-income students, one full scholarship and one half-price scholarship per month.

White’s fiancee, Kelli Rule, is the school’s operations manager.

White began studying the piano when he was 10 and learned the guitar at age 12. He grew up in Clinton, New York, and attended high school at The Putney School, in Vermont, where students develop their own individualized courses of study, with a focus on the creative arts.

White studied music at the University of Oregon. He lived in Eugene, Oregon, for seven years, and in Portland for 19 years.

He and Rule moved to Washougal in 2016.

One week before the couple’s move, White performed with the BilgeRats & Pyrettes during the “Pirates in the Plaza,” in Reflection Plaza, in downtown Washougal. He says he plans to participate in this year’s “Pirates in the Plaza,” which is set for Saturday, Aug. 26.

White also will perform solo and sponsor the Washougal Art Festival on Saturday, Aug. 12.

He is the founder and band leader of The Hot Club of Hawthorne, a quartet that will play gypsy jazz in a “Music Amongst the Trees” concert from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 13, at the TreeSong Nature Awareness and Retreat Center, 41 Tree-ific Drive, W., Washougal.

Admission will be on a sliding scale — $10 to $25 per person, $35 for families. Any amount above $15 on an individual admission will be tax-deductible and go to TreeSong and its mission of nature, self and community connection. Online registration is available at www.treesongnatureawareness.org/concert.

While White performs many types of music, his favorite is gypsy jazz, which he describes as “old-time, 1920s and 1930s swing and world music played on acoustic stringed instruments, with exotic Old World flair, a fiery delivery, and feel good charm.”

“I love it, because it’s happy and lively,” White said. “It’s a vehicle for extravagant and flashy soloing, and it’s jazz but without horns or drums. The acoustic nature of it allows it to fit anywhere from wine bars to weddings to big ballrooms for swing dancers.”

As a volunteer with The Meals on Wheels People, White plays piano for senior citizens from 11 a.m. to noon, on the first, third and fourth Tuesdays of every month, at the Washougal Community Center, and says the crowd appreciates his performances of jazz, country and older popular music.

“I have a background of playing regularly in retirement homes,” he said. “Since one of my favorite styles is music from the 1920s, the only generation gap is that the songs are often older than they are. It’s a walk down memory lane for them.”

Washougal School of Music is located at 1103 “D” St. For more information, call 503-964-7339, email jeffree@wsom.rocks or visit www.washougalschoolofmusic.com.

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