It is one thing to share your talents with the world through performing. It is another to share your knowledge and skills with other musicians through teaching. To connect with an audience through the shared passion of music is exhilarating. To connect with an individual in the studio through that shared passion, is rewarding and inspiring. Chris Stringer does both as a performer and teacher. He is sharing his talents in many ways throughout Central Florida.
Chris was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview in his guitar studio at Family Music of Clermont. He shared with me his background and experiences, and some of the exciting things that are happening in his career. There are bright new opportunities on the horizon for this accomplished musician and teacher.
Chris first started playing guitar around the age of 11. He played with his mom and dad at many church revivals. He credits his parents for encouraging him, and would like to thank God for his talents. He would also like to give credit to Denise Dunston for her influence on his musical experiences. “I actually started out as a drummer,” notes Chris. He grew up in the church and started playing drums there. “It seems like my career has taken off in that path too, as far as church events, playing for groups, playing for choirs,” added Chris. Chris says that he has been doing these things all of his life. The church is often the foundation of a solid, strong musician. It has provided Chris with an enormous amount of experience.
Chris eventually made the transition from drums to guitar. “We always had a bunch of drummers at the church,” Chris recalls. “We had to take turns, so I kind of started getting interested in the guitar from another friend of mine who was at the church. It was his uncle who played the guitar at the church.” Chris thought that it was pretty cool, so he went to his own uncle, and his uncle started teaching him chords. From there Chris eventually started learning how to play the bass. Chris and Arqisto Coleman, his good friend from church, ended up working together and playing guitar and bass together as they grew up. Chris lost his friend Arqisto a couple of years ago, and continues to carry on his friend’s legacy with music and through his persistence and perseverance. Sadly, another close friend who had been a worship leader and vocalist at the church also passed away. Chris cherishes the memory of his close friends, Arqisto Coleman and Vikkie Robinson.
As Chris was growing up in the church, there were often groups that would come to his church and perform. One of those groups took an interest in Chris, and invited him to come travel with them. This group was called The Gospel Demonstrators. They opened up for many professional quartet groups like the William Brothers and Canton Spirituals. As he went on he played for the gospel quartet, Gospel Messengers, and was their music director.
Chris has directed music at churches, traveled with groups, has experience recording as a studio musician, is performing live, and is teaching private lessons on guitar and bass. He has performed with both local and professional national groups including renowned worship leader, Ricardo Sanchez and Martha Munizzi. Chris attributes a large part of his success to his alma mater, Atlanta Institute of Music. Chris has a great appreciation for the education he received there. As far as influences go, Chris has a long list of musicians who have inspired him. Locally and personally, his Uncle Jeremiah Burkes and Billy Cryaton, and his brother Donnie Stringer have had an impact on him personally and musically. His jazz influences include George Benson and Norman Brown. On the gospel scene, Johnathan DuBose, Tim Mole, and Rick Watford. “Those are the guys who have kind of shaped my style,” noted Chris.
Chris decided to continue his education after years of performing with his gift. He is a residential electrician by trade. “I can do a house from ground up,” brags Chris. After doing that for 10 years and playing at night, he got a letter and went to check out the school with a friend. Once he was there, he was amazed by all of the talented guitar players from all parts of the world, and the variety of their individual styles. Chris was blown away by all of the information that they were each able to share. He has nothing but great things to say about the school and its program.
Chris eventually moved into teaching private lessons. He had learned all of the skills it takes to teach and educate, and decided to start utilizing that knowledge. He started at Dr. Music in Altamonte Springs and found his way to Family Music of Clermont. Chris has been teaching at Family Music for 4 years now, and has a great rapport with his students. “Lessons are important because they fill in the gaps,” notes Chris. “I’ve been down the road of both sides. I know lessons can be… like nobody wants to do them, because they can be boring at first. And that’s where having the experience helps. When you’re playing already, sometimes you run into those dead spots, and that’s where the lessons come in and they fill in those gaps.” Chris recommends lessons for anyone who is just starting out and wants to learn guitar, and for the professional who is already performing. Everyone benefits from the one-on-one attention and assistance from a professional musician who has been trained to listen, teach, and coach.
If you are interested in taking guitar or bass lessons from Chris, call Family Music of Clermont at 407.877.8549. They also offer lessons in many other instruments and voice. Check out Chris Stringer on facebook and on Youtube to stay up to date with his latest projects. He has recently joined the team at the professional Orlando recording studio, Prosperity Records. Chris is teamed up with producer and Dove Winner, Jeremy James. He is also currently on lead guitar at The Faith Center International with Pastor Alexis Freemon Stephens. Keep up to date with all of the latest on Chris Stringer, Prosperity Records, and Family Music of Clermont.