Beth Marlis is a highly accomplished guitarist, Executive Director of The Musicians Foundation, and Vice President at Musicians Institute, among several other inspiring and impressive credentials! Seeing both work in the musical education field and playing music as just different phrasing of the same set of 2-5-1 changes, Beth has found that simply saying “yes” can take a person a long way.
1. What do you feel are the greatest challenges in a career that combines your own pursuits and interests as a musician with the business of music education?
Actually, those are not oppositional. For me, being a professional musician and being a music educator are equally creative acts that are inseparable and inform each other; it’s all one big jazz tune to me! They both require preparation, improvisation, communication, focus and hopefully making the world a better place. This is true for all of the other types of work that I do in the non-profit and civic engagement spheres as well.
2. What single personal trait do you feel has been the most beneficial to you in either arena?
3. What Henriksen Amp(s) do you prefer and what settings do you use?
For years, I used a JazzAmp Convertible, which was a head and 10” speaker cabinet. It had such great tone, versatility, tons of power, and the uber-portability was fantastic. I recently sold that amp to one of my students and am now using a Henriksen Blu amp. I really dig it; I can’t believe how good and warm it sounds! Perfect match for my Benedetto Bambino. I generally keep settings pretty flat, and make subtle adjustments as needed. I’m also thinking about getting a JazzAmp Ten soon!
4. How would you categorize the music you like to play?
5. What’s the most interesting (good or bad) gig you’ve ever played? Give us the details!
6. What does 2019 hold in store for you, the Musicians Institute, and your playing career?
After (-REDACTED!-) years, I’ve really deepened my understanding of music, the guitar, and listening more fully lately – and I’m excited to continue exploring next year. Most likely a few good gigs will happen along the way. I’ll also be producing a big fundraiser for the music scholarship foundation that I run featuring Stanley Clarke at MI in February of 2019. I’ll continue to serve on several boards of directors and definitely enjoy my 32nd year of teaching guitar and being a Vice President at MI.