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Matthew L In HomeHome Teaches OnlineOnline
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Instruments: Piano, Voice, Synthesizer, Keyboard
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Country, Gospel, Musical Theater, Opera, Showtunes, Spirituals, New Age

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Matthew L In Home Teaches Online
Instruments: Piano, Voice, Synthesizer, Keyboard
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Country, Gospel, Musical Theater, Opera, Showtunes, Spirituals, New Age

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 10-80
Levels Taught:

EMAIL US OR CALL 877-687-4524

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:

BFA, Reinhardt University, Theatre Studies (Musical Theatre Focus)

Awards:

2016 - Graduated cum laude from Reinhardt University 2015 - Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee (Guys & Dolls)

Overview:

I am versed in all things theatrical, and have been acting in plays and musicals throughout the Atlanta metro area for over 10 years. In addition to my theatrical pursuits, I have been singing and playing the piano from a young age. I graduated from Reinhardt University in 2016 with a degree in Theatre after studying under experienced professors and musicians from around the country, including Broadway pianist Julie Bearden Carver, and professional Chicagoan actor David Nisbet. I've had many great opportunities including directing, designing and starring in musicals and plays (even Shakespeare!), in addition to teaching music to individual students and larger groups. I've even had multiple experiences as a rehearsal pianist and musical director for shows like Fiddler on the Roof, and Spring Awakening.

My personal experience with music began back in middle school when I joined band as a trombonist, but after a while I felt I wanted to try something a bit more accessible. I couldn't just sit down with an instruction booklet and teach myself how a non-rigid brass instrument worked! I needed a more hands on learning environment. With many friends involved already, I changed over to chorus, and my music education really took off. It wasn't long after that I auditioned for a musical on a whim, and realized I'd found my passion. Piano lessons followed, and my passion for music kept building from there. Since then, I have sung in school and local choirs including The Cherokee Chorale in Canton. I've also performed onstage in musicals all over North Georgia including: Waleska, Marietta, Dahlonega, Cumming, Canton, Smyrna, Suwanee, Woodstock, Sandy Springs, and most recently as a performer with Stone Mountain Park during their Christmas season.

EXPERIENCE

I've only been formally teaching music students for 2 years at the time of this writing, but I've been a music and theatre instructor in some shape, form, or fashion for about a decade now. Basically, if a student is willing and genuinely interested, then they can be taught! My motto for music and performing arts has always been: where words fail, music begins. Where singing cannot express emotion, the instruments take over. Emotion inspires creativity, creativity can take one form in music, music becomes instrumental performance or vocal performance. From there, one can branch out into formal disciplines such as dance, theater, and solo music. The phrase "I love you" can transform from a simple statement, into a song such as "Speak Softly, Love" from The Godfather. From there, when a song isn't enough, "I love you" can become movement such as the iconic "Shall We Dance" from The King and I. When movement still doesn't portray the essence of "I love you" fully, it becomes the raw emotion found in the orchestral pieces by Craig Armstrong for the classic film "Love Actually." Cliché? A bit. True? Completely.

METHODS USED

When it comes to the actual knitty-gritty of teaching music, I like to listen to what a student is interested in before putting together any kind of lesson plan. Often times, when starting from scratch with children, I'll begin with a book from the Alfred series to teach true green newcomers on piano. These books move slowly, but start off with recognizable tunes so students can feel accomplished and satisfied right away by realizing "I know this song! I just played it all by myself!"

I will NOT teach Suzuki, however, I accept students who have been taught under this method as long as they are willing to break some of their previously developed habits, most commonly memorization. Furthermore, I will NOT teach students who have been forced into music by a parent/guardian/etc. A student must WANT to become a musician of their own accord. Period.

As for vocal lessons, I'll figure out a student's vocal range and voice type, then ask them the kind of songs they want to sing, and why they want to sing them. If the student has vocal experience, I can help them expand their repertoire whether it be for theater auditions, choir tryouts, school group auditions, college prep, or just for fun! The material doesn't matter to me vocally. I want the student to sing what they want to sing since it's such a personal experience to create music using the body. I focus on vocal technique from lesson 1. I listen to the radio plenty, but if there's a popular song on the radio at the moment, it's more than likely being sung in an unhealthy way. Shawn Mendes, Sia, Demi Lovato, Charlie Puth, and Mariah Carey are incredible talents...however they sing in an incredibly unhealthy manner. However, there are pop artists such as Adele, Adam Levine, Ariana Grande, and Meghan Trainor who clearly have vocal chops along with healthy techniques. I try not to be a stickler when listening to Top 40, but when a student brings me anything along these lines, I'll do my very best to get them singing these songs in a key that's comfortable for their voice, and in a manner that will not harm them vocally.

LESSON STYLE

Music teachers made a difference in my life. I probably would have given up on music if I didn't have patient and supportive teachers showing me the way. This is how I strive to teach music now. All it takes is for one person to say "yes" to a student who has frequently been told "no" or "keep trying!" Working in collaborative environments like theatre and choirs have shown me the different types of people and situations that come with performing of any kind. I tell students of all ages "I've been there! I've been that guy!" as much as I can so they understand how far I've come and how far they can go with determination and effort on their part. I felt so clueless during middle school band. I nearly gave it up completely before some friends convinced me to join the choir. The change in setting, and the change in teacher made all the difference.

Having a teacher realize I was struggling, and taking the time to work with me gave me the confidence I needed to carry on and slowly but surely hone my craft. I don't believe in the idea that "some people just aren't good at things like music." Music is a gift, and even the most stubborn or frustrated student can learn. It's all in the mindset. I don't allow students to let the "I can't do this" attitude and ideology enter their minds. Letting in failure creates room for failure. That's not to say mistakes are bad; quite the opposite! Mistakes are part of life, and a big part of learning anything new, especially a new skill. If there's a mistake that can be made in music, I've made it. As upset or frustrated as I may have been at the time, I know these personal failures are part of the process, and I use them as much as I can to instill hope and determination in my students. I hate hearing adults, even older generations say they wish they'd done something like music when they were younger because they feel it's too late. It's never too late for music. You don't have to become a virtuoso and play full length classical concertos to consider yourself a musician. Music is what you make it, and absolutely anything is possible.

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