Gorham School of Music / by henrY Leiter

Gorham School of Music

Recently i had the privilege of being hired to make some photographs for the Gorham School of Music, that is located in Gorham, Maine. Gorham is only a short drive of about twenty minutes from Portland. Being a such devoted music fan, the assignment was more pleasure than work. They are doing some amazing things at the school. i feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe the students connecting with their teachers, and to listen to the progress the students have made with mastering their chosen instruments.

The Gorham School of Music teaches all ages, including individuals or small groups. Some of the instruments they teach are Guitar, Drums, Violin / Fiddle, Piano, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Ukulele, Cello, Voice, and one of my favorites the Marimba, as well as other various instruments.

Gorham School of Music student learning the Electric Drum Kit.

Gorham School of Music student learning the Electric Drum Kit.

All the teachers involved with the school are incredible people who are passionate about what they do. Matt Wasowski and Jim Svendsen, two of the founders, i had the opportunity to observe in action. Their patience and knowledge about teaching music is very inspirational, much like their other projects and backgrounds. 

Matt Wasowski has travelled to Zimbabwe, Ghana, Zambia, and South Africa to study and teach music. At the Bizung School of Music and Dance, in Tamale, Ghana he helped launch a guitar program that provides free, arts-based education for kids through the efforts of the Playing For Change Foundation. He also organized a grant-funded project in 2005, to construct Zimbabwe-style marimbas for a "Marimba Orchestra" at his former Elementary School in Lyons, Colorado where he was the music teacher. He has been teaching music for 14 years, and plays and records locally as a solo artist, and also with The Maine Marimba Ensemble and the Portland Rhumba Project. He is also a year-round surfer here in Maine.

Music teacher, Matt Wasowski teaching Gorham Music School student to play the blues.

Music teacher, Matt Wasowski teaching Gorham Music School student to play the blues.

Jim Svendsen has been teaching music since 2007. He studied music and music theory at Goddard College. He is also the founder and Executive Director of a very intriguing, local non-profit called, Guitar Doors - Instruments of Change that is dedicated to bringing music and music programming to inmates, both adults and juveniles, in correctional facilities throughout the state of Maine.

Music teacher Jim Svendsen helping young guitar student learn finger placement on the frets. 

Music teacher Jim Svendsen helping young guitar student learn finger placement on the frets. 

According to the Guitar Doors website, "these programs can help the inmates develop relationships and address issues that they may not be able to work through with words alone." Their website also states, "Studies have shown that participation in music programs increase their ability to converse with others, reduce their social isolation, and increase their interest in external events. It has also been shown to significantly increase feelings of acceptance, joy and happiness, and significantly decrease feelings of guilt, regret, blame, and fear/distrust.  It provides a distraction from problem-oriented thinking while simultaneously developing independence and decision-making skills. In short, group music participation can facilitate self-expression and provide a channel for transforming frustration, anger, and aggression into the experience of creativity and self-mastery."

Gorham School of Music piano student.

Gorham School of Music piano student.

i personally have been trying to play the guitar, and various other stringed instruments for some time, and have been frustrated through most of it. i have always wished that i had taken it more seriously when i was younger. However, after visiting the Gorham School of Music and observing people from all different generations and walks of life taking lessons and trying to fulfill this inner need to make music, i am once again inspired to continue to work towards this goal. It is never too early or too late!

To view more photography work by henrY Leiter Foto please visit the portfolio section: www.henryfoto.com

Mandolin lesson in progress.

Mandolin lesson in progress.

Gorham School of Music

17C Railroad Avenue
Gorham, Maine 04038

phone: +1 (207) 839-3900
www.gorhamschoolofmusic.com