“If you want to learn to play, know what your goal is; it helps you to have reasonable expectations. When I was taught, it was with the idea that all the students would go on to become professionals, but that’s not everyone’s intention. I teach violin, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar three or four days a week, and sometimes retirees come in and say, ‘I’ve always wanted to learn to fiddle.’ That’s their aim, and we go from there. I want people to enjoy the instrument and for them to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves.
“I played with the Orpheum Theater Orchestra for 18 years and have played with the Memphis Symphony off and on. I also do recordings and play with a string quartet and with country and rock and roll bands. It takes a lot of time to learn to play well. Performers make it look easy, so people don’t realize how much practice goes into it. That’s true of all the arts. If you purchase a portrait that an artist has done, you are purchasing their time, their training, and their experience. It’s not just that one painting or that one song. It’s everything behind it.”
Roy Brewer was awarded a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis in 1996. He is currently a part-time instructor at the University and is a freelance musician. Besides recording with many major label artists, his performance credits also include the Conan O’Brien Show; Austin City Limits; Later, with Jools Hollond (BBC); and his fiddle can be heard on the sound track for the motion picture Black Snake Moan. His research on Southern music has been published in the academic journals Popular Music, American Music, Popular Music and Society, and The Smithsonian Inst. Scholarly Press. Roy plays more instruments than any of us know how to play, and teaches guitar, violin, and mandolin.