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No talent, no problem? Just ask Marlon.

July 20, 2013
Labeled as an untalented musician at the university, Marlon kept working at it until he met his goal of being a professional guitarist. He has since been booked for his first international performance. Hard work is better than talent.


Founder & CEO | Sage Music

While some musicians achieve their success by their talents, most others, like guitarist and Sage Music student Marlon Oliveira, earn it through their hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

Motivated by his passion to bring the wonderful music of the classical guitar to a wider audience, Oliveira has overcome many obstacles to his goals: He started the guitar at the late age of 16, significantly behind his peers in music school; he did not pass his first audition to get into music school, but changed his teacher and worked even harder to get in; and he overcame the debilitating effects of Repetitive Strain Injury that plagued him for 3 years by committing himself the study of better technique, better health, and better practice habits.

Oliveira says, “The injury slowed me down a bit, but I remained persistent in my practice and my studies and I have recovered so that I can still play, something I am very happy about”.

Before auditioning for music school, Oliveira was enrolled at Queens College as an undeclared major. “I was scared to do music, because it seemed like such a hard living, especially when I saw many other guitarists drop out of the music program. But then I realized if I didn’t devote myself fully to the study of music, then nothing was going to happen with it, so I put everything else off to the side to pursue my degree and a life of music.”

Since graduating with his music degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Oliveira continues to enjoy performing with the NYC Guitar Orchestra and several community organizations. He even was also booked for his first international performance at Brazil Fest Canada.

“Music taught me to be ambitious, and taught me hard work. Performing allows me to give others a gift of music they would not ordinarily hear. Teaching allows me to share with them all the great things I have learned. Music is part of who I am, I love it, and it keeps me going.”

Oliveira's teacher Jason Sagebiel says "Marlon is a very dedicated musician. I received pressure from the administration to drop him from the guitar program at the Aaron Copland school because he wasn't talented enough or performing at the level of his peers.

Neither I nor Marlon would give up. Now he is performing very well. In fact, of the many guitar majors I taught at the university, only a few have achieved what he done. His hard work and dedication indeed paid off."

In addition to continuing his studies at Sage Music, Oliveira shares his talents with the younger generations by teaching privately and in several community organizations.

Marlon Oliveira at Brazil Fest Toronto
Marlon before going on stage
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