Hitting the right note

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Marisa and Mark De Vattimo have made it their mission to bring more music to the region through their teaching and performing.
Camera IconMarisa and Mark De Vattimo have made it their mission to bring more music to the region through their teaching and performing. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Music has always been a joy for Bridgetown couple Marisa and Mark De Vattimo and now they are spreading that joy to people in the region.

Since moving to the area in April 2017, Marisa and Mark have brought music to the lives of children and adults alike through their various music lessons.

Through their business, Marisa Leoni School of Music, the couple provide singing, guitar, bass, ukulele and drumming lessons for people throughout the Lower South West.

The couple also works with schools in Bridgetown, Manjimup and Pemberton to bring music to schools.

“We’re both very passionate about helping people out with music,” Marisa said.

“We realised there was a need for it down here.

“The schools are quite small and some of them don’t have the budget to support specialist teachers.

“It’s been nice that we can help the schools out in some way to bring music into kids’ lives.”

Born in Perth, Mark loved music from an early age.

With a love of heavy metal in the 80s, Mark went on to think more seriously about music as a career path in the 90s and to this day still likes metal bands.

Born in Victoria, Marisa moved to WA in the mid-80s and moved around a lot.

Marisa went to Japan when she was 19 and discovered her voice when she got a job working at a karaoke bar.

She has worked with Gold Coast acid jazz band Cafe Mondo.

“It’s not like we met in the middle, musically, because it’s hard to put my genre of music with Marisa’s acid jazz background,” Mark said.

“It’s really hard to compromise, musically.”

Marisa has been teaching singing for about 10 years because she was sick of working in administration.

“My singing teacher said ‘why don’t you do what I’m doing?’ and it was like a light-globe moment,” she said. Trained in an American methodology, Marisa has had many mentors over the years, whose clients included superstars such as Ozzy Osbourne.

Having settled and found their feet in the industry in the Lower South West, Mark and Marisa are looking to grow their brand and their reach in what they offer as music teachers and performers.

“The goal is basically to build a team and build it up so people work for us that have the same passion for teaching music to children and adults,” Marisa said.

The couple aims to provide performing opportunities for their students if it is their wish.

Mark said music was a good outlet for children who may not be built for, or interested in sport.

“With music, they can really feel part of a small thing, or something really big,” he said.

“You can be a solo musician, someone who sits at the end of the bed playing guitar, or go off and explore other opportunities, such as playing in bands.

“We can help with whatever the aim is.”

The couple works with local venues to provide performance opportunities.

“The Cidery has jumped on board, and so have Treehouse Tapas,” Marisa said.

“They’re really keen for us to have kids come and have concerts there.

“Obviously, for them there’s more bums on seats when parents come to watch, but they can see the value in building these kids up.

“Because one day, these kids are going to be the next adults that are playing in this town.”

Mark and Marisa are still accepting students for this coming term and before then, from January 14-18, will be holding Kids and Teens Summer Holiday Music Workshops in Bridgetown.

As performers with a rock/jazz/blues fusion, the couple have been working on building their repertoire to include creative covers of songs and are always working on their own, original music.

In addition to local venues and being booked for parties, Marisa and Mark have also started a wedding music package, which includes live music, DJ and MC capabilities.

The couple have performed at different venues throughout the Lower South West and they thanked the businesses for the support.

With aims of performing at Nashville and Byron Bay Bluesfest, the couple also looks forward to performing at the Blackwood Rhapsody at Bridgedale House on February 9.

“We will be debuting some original songs,” Marisa said.

Visit Kids and Teens Music Workshops at eventbrite.come.au to book for the workshops, starting January 14.

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