Poppycock June/July 2014 - Page 9

she developed a curriculum and taught students K-12 the history of blues music. Through storytelling, she evoked emotion and understanding with students about slavery in the United States. Eventually, these students wrote their own songs, music, and performed in various assemblies with the help of Whyte and her plus-sized band. It’s one thing to preform the blues, but to teach it is another beast. Guiding these students to write their own music was challenging, but she was surprised at how receptive they were. “The kids respond much more with a visceral experience rather than just an academic one. It’s oral, visual, touching into your learning style—it’s a full body workout doing a residency with me. I want every student in Portland to have an art experience—they must have several,” says Whyte. With the help of her agent, Whyte is participating as much as possible with Portland schools. Her most recent start-up project is called Broadway Bound, where she will be teaching a guitar class on how to sing and play simultaneously. “Every single experience brings something new,” explains Whyte. She’s ready in a true, chill, blues form: “It’s the excitement of not knowing what’s happening next.” Whyte has mastered the art of being spontaneous yet focused.