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Badger student plays at coffee shops, restaurants


January 28, 2014 | 02:01 PM
Isaiah Marx said he likes to take his life one day at a time.

The 15-year-old’s days are full at Badger High School, juggling giving and taking lessons at the Lake Geneva House of Music, coordinating open mic nights at Caribou Coffee and planning entertainment for the soon-to-open Rosewood.

“I started singing when I was young,” Marx said. “I come from a musical family. My grandpa’s brother played in a polka band in Milwaukee. My family all played different instruments. I started with singing and then I played the piano.”

And then drums. Then guitar. Then bass guitar.

House of Music owner Chris Buttleman said he has seen Marx change a lot in a year and a half.

“He’s talented, he’s a hard worker, and I’m really proud of him,” Buttleman said. “(He) has made big strides in his development both as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist since joining the House of Music.”

One of those changes is all the instruments Marx has learned to play.

“I enjoy them all so much,” Marx said. “You can always learn something new from picking up an instrument.”

Marx started as a student at the Lake Geneva House of Music in August 2012.

About a year later, he started directing a kid’s group.

Then he started giving lessons.

Now he’s the assistant music director at the House of Music.

“I’ve always enjoyed music, and I know I am so blessed to be able to have it in my life,” Marx said. “I would love to make something of it (in the future), though I know it’s not always a practical career move.”

Marx credits his mom and the staff at the House of Music with supporting his dreams but keeping him grounded.

“I have a great support staff here at House of Music,” he said. “I have some great friends and family that help me.”

He’s helped his mom and family, too. He has a younger brother with autism and epilepsy, an older sister with a young daughter and a mom who suffered a brain injury about two years ago.

“It was almost like a stroke,” Marx said of his mom’s injury. “It was about a week before Christmas two years ago. Now she’s been doing rehab and getting better. She’s pretty much back to her normal self.”

Marx said he had to “step it up” while his mom was recovering. “I had to be there for her and for my brother,” he said. “Now, I’m getting more time to focus on the music.”

When Rosewood opens in the former Millie’s location, Marx will assist with entertainment there.

“Why would I want to work anywhere else?” Marx said. “Here at the House of Music and at Rosewood, I get paid for doing what I love. Why would I want to sit behind a cash register somewhere?”

Marx said the House of Music is expanding, and there is an instructor in-house to teach any instrument thinkable.

“The students enjoy everything they’re learning, and the teachers enjoy performing,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere to learn in.”

Marx said he isn’t “one to be classically taught.” He tried that with band while in middle school.

“I did the middle school band, it didn’t work for me,” he said. “I’m more of the spontaneous type when it comes to learning.”

And when he wants to learn something, he dedicates time to learn it.

“Right now, I spend a ton of time on the bass, so I know it really well,” Marx said. “Though I’ve been playing the piano the longest, I feel most comfortable with the bass. Though I love all the instruments I play.”

Buttleman said Marx has helped the House of Music grow into what it is now.

“He’s a real asset to our advanced/teen student group as well as to me as an assistant music director with the beginner group,” he said.

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