An Inside Look: Carlos Odria

This video profile is all about Dr. Carlos Odria and the new Música! ensemble on campus.

By Sarah Flynn

Transcript of the video:

Narrator (N)
Carlos Odria (C)
Ian Simpson (I)
Anthony Marzilli (A)

N: An adjunct music professor, a guitarist, and a father: these are just a few of the titles that 43-year-old Carlos Odria has earned. Between instructing at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester State, Odria has created a successful career in music by having been involved in the industry for 12 years. Throughout this time, he has developed a deep appreciation for all forms of the artwork and the creativity put into it.

N: Odria began learning music as a teenager in his homeland of Peru, which started with the basics of guitar. When he reached the point of enrollment to college, Odria put aside his hobby under the intention that he would find a career in law. However, his passion for music never faltered, and he soon decided that being a musician was what he was meant to do.

C: I discovered that I had this urge to use sounds, produce sounds, to communicate feelings, memories, ideas. And at some point I realized that I was good at conveying things to my listeners, which kind of reinforced in me the urge of keep making music, keep exploring different ways of delivering a message throughs sounds in a way that was very feelingful for me, both as  a professional individual and my spiritual being.

N: Now Odria has been teaching what he loves for 10 years and has found that working with students has expanded his own knowledge of music as well as the ways to instruct others on the subject. This matter has proved true for both his lecture and applied lesson courses, but the most creative and diverse experience has come with his newest class of the 2019 Spring semester.

N: From jazz to African drumming, ensemble courses have been becoming more and more popular for enrollment at Worcester State University. Odria had the idea for an addition to the nine existing groups over a year ago, working with Professor Kyle Martin of the VPA Department to make the Latin American ensemble, Música!, come to creation. Even with being only a few months old, the ensemble has already gathered a small organization of faculty and students who adore music.

I: As for me, like, I’m finding myself doing a buttload of multitasking. Like if I’m doing percussion and singing at the same time, I’ve got two different rhymes in my head at the same time that I’m trying to coordinate. It’s, it’s challenging but in a good way, because, you know, as musicians we are always looking for new things and for ways we can kind of better ourselves.

N: 22-year-old VPA major Ian Simpson has worked with Dr. Odria for approximately two years learning guitar, and when Música! came to be, he was prepared to be involved in any way he could. His experience thus far has led to dabbling in various instruments, from maracas to the tambourine to his guitar. Above it all, the area which has demanded the most adjustments for Simpson has shown itself as singing.

I:  I mean I took, like, four years of Spanish but I am definitely not fluent. Also, it’s not all necessarily Spanish, maybe it’s Portuguese or it’s another language or another dialect. And so, just learning to be able to sing some of the music is in itself can be a bit of a challenge … So it’s great, it’s good learning, it’s lots of great stuff.

N: Anthony Marzilli, the 22-year-old rhythm guitarist of the ensemble, says that being part of the group of musicians has expanded his view of music as well, for he has found that all players have a different style that can come together and form for the common reason of producing wonderful music. He sees the ensemble to be one of Worcester State’s programs that people should aspire to know more about, as campus events are what he thinks are the greatest ways to get together.

A: I think it’s very important for students to get involved in general, I feel like a lot of people just go do their thing and that’s it. It should be a community. I feel that Worcester State needs more of that, not only in music but in art and public things to do.

N: With dances and music from places like Peru, Brazil, and Chile, the variety of sounds that Música! will bring to stages are endless! Odria is proud to see so many young students already wanting to learn more about the Latin American world, and hopes that more people like them will join the ensemble in future semesters.

C: We want to reach the student population, faculty. We want to deliver kind of snippets of Latin American culture through the music that we perform and we want to immerse the students, both listeners and performers, into the reach diversity of cultures.

N: Odria believes that the most skillful musicians evolve from having a routine of practicing every day and following one’s intuition in terms of creative approaches and styles that show who that person is.

C: Now, practicing and following your intuition are two interconnected things, because if you only follow your intuition but you don’t have the chops, then it’s going to be a very subjective and perhaps chaotic way of making music. But if you really polish your craft, you know how to use your tools and you follow your intuition, that’s a perfect match that will make you a better artist.

N: If you are interested in joining the ensemble, email Dr. Odria and with some information about your skills and why you think you would be a good fit for the musical group. As for the remainder of this year, Música!’s current members will be taking the stage soon! Their first ever performances will be April 26 from 12:00 to 1:00 in the Learning Resource Center’s Cafe and May 3 at 12:00 to 1:00 in Sheehan Hall*. The more participants the better, as Ian Simpson explains.

I: It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be engaging. There’s, there’s a lot of the music that we’re playing, and dancing, and it’s engaging, and it’s community music. It’s not just about us, and you, ya know, us up here and you down there, like we’re getting everybody—we want everybody to be a part of the music. It’s a part of the cultural tradition of this sort of music. Its participatory, so we need people to come, and we need people to join us and to be a part of it.

N: If you liked what you heard in this video, check out Carlos Odria on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or his own personal website,, where you will find many of his past performances, as well as schedules for future ones. Your support is what keeps this diverse music alive and well here at Worcester State!

*The May 3 performance will be in the Sheehan Hall POD.

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