AT 17, MIAYA SHAMBRY is a teen out of time, belting out classic rock standards by the likes of scratchy-voiced ’60s songstress Janis Joplin as a student enrolled in the Portland chapter of Paul Green’s School of Rock. This national music education program, founded in Philadelphia in 1998, affords Shambry and other kids aged 8 to 18 the opportunity to learn about everything from band basics to the finer points of performance and music theory. On January 19, she’ll sing with the School of Rock show band at “Jimi, Jim, and Janis,” one of three Saturday-evening School of Rock recitals at Berbati’s Pan this month. Shambry chatted with us on her way to rehearsal.
What’s it like to be a student of rock? I get to interact with kids from different schools and different age groups who have the same interest that I do. The kids are nice, and the teachers are really funny. They expect you to do well, and they will help you succeed.
After months of rehearsals, does everyone take a rock ’n’ roll midterm? Each season everyone gets to participate in at least one show. If you work hard, you can earn more songs to perform. Apart from our regular concerts each season, I’m also in the show band, so we play more shows at bars and for adults.
Do you get nervous when you perform in front of big crowds? It’s really exciting! If you mess up, you have to pick yourself up.
What’s on your playlist for the “Jimi, Jim, and Janis” show? I’m singing a bunch of songs by Janis Joplin, like “Move Over,” “Get It While You Can,” and “Try Just a Little Bit Harder.” And then I’m doing some Jimi Hendrix.
Between the choir at Grant High School, School of Rock and the show band, how do you keep it all straight? It’s really good practice for my time management skills. I put the songs on my iPod and listen to them on the way to school in the morning so I can memorize them faster.