This week in the blog we’re going to have a chat with Midcoast School of Music co-owner and teacher Chris Marro. Chris is a busy man. He is currently the Director of Percussion for the Westbrook and Cape Elizabeth school departments. In addition to that he maintains a full complement of private students. While attending to his responsibilities as a business owner he also plays in and co-manages a much-in-demand nine piece band as well as picking up gigs with other bands as a sought after drummer. In his leisure hours he retreats to his home with his lovely wife, Janice, their not-quite two year old daughter, and his beloved bulldog.
Q: When did you start playing the drums?
A: “I got a snare drum when I was about 10 years old. My brother was involved in Band at school and brought it home. I was hooked from then on. I played in the middle school Concert Band and in High School I played in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Wind ensemble and Marching Band. That was also when I got involved with ‘Southern Maine Youth Percussion Ensemble’ -a competitive drumline. I really loved being involved with that and it had a big influence.
Q: When did you start teaching?
A: “I started teaching at ‘The Drum Shop’ in Portland when I was nineteen. My teacher had an overflow of students that I picked up. Shortly after that I got hired to teach in the Westbrook Marching Band”.
Q: Tell me about your teaching experience since then
A: “Lets see- I was with the Wesbrook Marching Band for four years. I taught at ‘The Drum Shop’ for ten years and ‘The Tony Boffa’ school of contemporary music for nine years.
Q: Do you have an overriding teaching philosophy?
A: “I think its important to connect with my students in a way that makes music fun and enjoyable. I want them to be excited about learning the instrument so the material we work on needs to be relatable. But at the same time, I like to emphasize music literacy and fundamentals so they will be functional musicians going forward”
Q: Why did you decide to start the Music School?
A: “Matt (Fogg, MSOM co-owner) and I wanted to start a place that offered the things we felt were needed but were never available when we began playing: a place with an integrated experience where students could benefit from individual instruction and play in a structured ensemble setting. You really need to do both to develop and mature as musician”
Q:What are you listening to this week?
A: “I’ve been listening to Harry Connick Jr.’s ‘She’ album- the one with George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste from the Meters. Also a couple of Radiohead albums- ‘OK Computer’ and ‘The Bends’. And Dave Matthews Band ‘Under the Table and Dreaming’ always seems to be in the rotation too…”
Q: Any local bands you recommend?
A: “I really like ‘The Tone Kings’. I just saw them at ‘The Frog and Turtle’ and they were fantastic. Great musicians. They’re worth checking out…”
Dont forget the MSOM showcase at The Stockhouse on Monday November 12!!!