As a self-described gypsy woman who loves art, music, travel and experiencing new cultures, Marissa Brown enjoys combining her passions with her degree in music.
Brown, from Farmington, Utah, earned a degree in music from Southern Utah University. During her time in school, she completed an internship with Drumbus Utah, a mobile music room that travels around the state.
“Drumbus is a renovated bus filled with drums and musical instruments,” said Brown. “It helps all types of people have a fun, musical experience.
Through her experience, she was able to drum with people at the zoo, memory care units, rehabilitation centers, a special needs facility, corporate events, and juvenile detention centers.
“I put together an hour-long program in which I went over the history of Africa and drum circles,” said Brown. “My goal was to teach participants that everyone can be a musician and that drumming has always been a strong form of building community through rhythm. I wanted to show people how to communicate through drum circles without using words.”
Through her program, she facilitated no-speaking activities. At Parowan High School, the students made parallels about how to take what was learned from drumming together and applying it into real life.
“The beautiful part about drum circles is that they are different every time,” said Brown. “It is a very improvisational and creative process for everyone involved.”
Her experiences at SUU allowed her to experiment, sometimes failing, but continuing to try and grow. She learned to work with people and make lifelong connections. An impactful mentor in her education was Dr. Lynn Vartan, director of percussion and director of the APEX Event Series at SUU.
“Dr. Vartan was one of my greatest resources and strengths in becoming a self-reliant musician,” said Brown. “I could ask her a question about anything I was concerned with and she always had the answer at the tap of a hat. I am so grateful to have been able to study with and learn from her creative mind.”
Since she is so passionate about music and creativity, Brown’s dream is to keep producing drum circles and turn that into a business. She is grateful for the opportunities she had access to and wants to continue offering experiences for everyone, so that they may grow as she has through her SUU training.