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Bachelor Degree: UNC Pembroke
2017-2018 Druid Hills Academy New Teacher of the Year
Hi, I'm Max, I have been teaching here at the Music & Arts since November 2017. I have chosen to teach because I want to give others the same musical opportunities I had as a child. Music is able to take you incredible places once you apply yourself; through competitions in school like MPA, marching band, or even All State, there are countless moments to challenge yourself and grow through music. Believing in the positive influence music may have in the lives of others, I work to encourage students of all ages in the advancement of music.
In lessons I prefer to focus on the development of the student's tone. This is directly related to the performer's own voice. Through internalizing pitches and learning proper breathing techniques, the student may discover and enhance their own unique sound. For beginners, I prefer to break down the fundamentals of breathing and singing. This begins to show them the "proper breath", how to support it, and matching pitch. With more advanced players, we focus on sight singing and buzzing. This too helps show the player the breath support needed, especially for more complex passages of music, while improving practical reading skills needed for upper level ensembles.
Above all, I believe music is an incredible tool for bringing people together and having fun.
I’ve been teaching private lessons since my sophomore year of college at UNCP. I had few students at a local middle school that I volunteered at as well as some students at my former high school. I moved to Charlotte in 2017 to teach band at Druid Hills Academy. Soon after, I started teaching at Music and Arts at the Arboretum where I have been teaching since November 2017. While there, I have maintained a studio between 10 and 20 students varying in age from 8-65 and have consistently had students make All District. I have a few more on track for district this year and one that may even make All State!
My go to beginner book is Essential Elements but I am flexible if the student has a method book they are using at school. Depending on skill and level I use books such as First Practical Studies, Arban, Kopprash, Rochut and Rubank. I also use a method called Breathing Gym for all of my students no matter their age or skill. Breathing Gym was developed by tuba players Sam Pilafian and Pat Sheridan. The focus of Breathing Gym is training your lungs to help give you a fuller tone, sustain for longer and all around develop a mature sound. These exercises help brass players, especially tuba players like myself.
Music and teaching it to my students is the most fulfilling experience to me. Watching my students exceed makes me so happy. I tend to be a more relaxed teacher unless my students have an audition coming up. When I have students auditioning for district and the like I get very hard on them because that’s when they need it the most. The audition judges aren’t going to hold anything back, so I don’t so I can push them to success. When students don’t have an audition coming up, we focus on what they need for personal growth on their instrument and getting ready for a recital or their band concert, should should they have either coming up.
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