Having identified his interests early in his life, Alabama-born Caleb Bryant moved to Lewiston to pursue them, working to establish himself as a music teacher and encouraging a love for music. Recently married and hoping to turn his passion into a profession, Bryant has taken to social media to advertise his services while simultaneously connecting with his new community.
Yam: caleb bryant
Live in: Lewiston
When did you start playing music? What instruments do you play and what got you interested? I play violin and piano mainly, but I can also play guitar and mandolin pretty well. I started playing the violin when I was 3, almost 4 years old. My teacher said she had never had anyone so young but she taught me! I started playing piano a few years later. My entire family is very musically talented, and I was pretty much born into it.
When did you start giving music lessons? What made you start? I started giving music lessons when I was in 8th grade, and I started because I saw a lot of people my age who wanted to play, but didn’t think they could. My teaching style, in my opinion, has given a lot better results than other styles, and I thank my violin teacher for that.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What are your go-to albums or genres? My favorite musician would definitely be Mark O’Connor. I attended a camp run by him when I was 10 years old, and it changed my music career heavily. His camp was called The O’Connor Method String Camp at East Tennessee State University.
For genres, I definitely have a love of bluegrass, growing up in the South. Gospel hymns are almost always beautiful to me. I tend to play a lot of blues music on the piano. It’s definitely one of my favorites. Some of my favorite artists are Memphis Slim and Ray Charles. For blues violin, it would have to be Blaine Sprouse.
What are some of your other hobbies? My other hobbies include disc golf. . . and hiking with my wife. We’ve traveled to a lot of really cool places together and it’s been amazing. Disc golf is by far my favorite sport, and I’ve been playing that for seven years.
Where have you hiked and traveled with your wife to? Do you have a favorite hiking or travel spot in particular? Me and my wife have hiked in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Maine and a few more that we’ve stopped at in between. My favorite hike so far has probably been Rock Island State Park (in Tennessee). It was beautiful.
Where are you originally from? What brought you specifically to Lewiston? I’m from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, originally. Me and my wife came to Portland, Maine, to get married, and then went back and lived in Georgia for about 6 months before we decided we loved it here and wanted to move back. Lewiston is close to some of the people I knew here, so we found a place to live and decided that’s where we wanted to live.
How would you describe your teaching style? My teaching style starts at the same place for everyone. The fundamentals of how to play are just as important, maybe more, as being able to read sheet music. Most people want to start with sheet music, and I think learning how to be able to manipulate the violin and piano are more important. This causes people to be able to play “by ear” as well. That means being able to hear something, and play it, without the sheet music. Having both is a skill that not a lot of people have, and my method has proven successful many times.
What kind of genres do you play? I play every style you could think of. Growing up though, I played a lot of bluegrass, actually. Classical came later on in life. Bluegrass is what my entire family played and it’s really how I learned. I am paid to both play and teach. My goal is for it to be my full-time job, for sure. We’ll see how the cards play out though!
Since you like gospel hymns, have you also played in churches before? Have you also played at events or parties? I have done both! I played in my home church in Alabama for about 10 years, starting when I was 8. I’ve also played at weddings, clubs, local bars, and other types of events and parties. I can play at any event necessary!
Are you in a band or play music with others in the area? I actually just moved here, so I haven’t really gotten the chance to connect with other musicians yet.