COLDBROOK - It’s hard to imagine where Mark Roberts would be without music.
“If there’s 24 hours in a day, probably 30 hours goes into music in one way or another,” Roberts jokes.
“When the day comes that it feels like work, that will be the day that I close my cases and walk away. With any luck, that’ll be the same day as they’re closing the lid.”
Roberts is well known as a member of the popular Valley-based Maritime folk trio SWIG. But longtime residents of the Kentville area might also remember Roberts playing gigs with his buddies long before any of them were even old enough to drive to their own shows.
“Music is what kept me on track in high school and beyond. It gave me a focus,” he said, adding that he seized many opportunities to hide away and sing to the rafters when times were tough.
“It gets you through a lot of interesting times.”
The Coldbrook resident recently started running Roberts Music Services out of his home-based studio. He specializes in teaching lessons for guitar, bass, woodwinds, mandolin and brass instruments. He’s happy to work with all ages, including younger children.
“The ukulele is a great little instrument and it’s a good starting instrument, particularly for younger kids that want to go on to guitar,” he said.
Roberts majored in trumpet while earning a degree in music education at Acadia University. He went on to teach music in the public-school system, and led private lessons for many years before taking a step back from teaching 10 years ago to focus on other projects.
Why teach now?
The real question, Roberts says, is why not?
“I miss teaching. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as working with a student and seeing them progress,” he says.
“It’s really super rewarding. It continues to give me that sense of accomplishment.”
Roberts, who also runs a professional party services business called UpBeat Entertainment, opted to offer lessons again upon noting a need for more music teachers in the Annapolis Valley.
“There’s an excellent opportunity for me to help the band programs and instrumental music teachers in the area by being able to share my expertise on a one-on-one basis,” he says.
“There’s a huge demand.”
He offers customized instruction that’s tailored to the personal goals of each student.
“I try to find where they’re at, and where they want to be,” he says.
“You’re only limited by what you limit yourself to, and I truly believe that.”