Hi, I’m Matt!
Grab a seat and make yourself at home! I want you to feel comfortable right away! That’s right… I am ALWAYS that person to break the awkward silence in a group of new people, and I always make others passing by think that we have been friends for a lifetime!
I am a violinist, music educator, and arts enthusiast based in Columbus, Ohio. O-H!
To me, music reflects the noumenal; a dimension of life that is so beautiful and fulfilling, every day can become the best dream you have ever had; one where you can soar to the stars and beyond at the speed of a rocket, slow time down and enjoy that sunset for eternity (you know which one I am talking about), and impart every fabric of your being to anyone regardless of the language they speak or whatever walk of life they come from.
Music allows us to come together as human beings and connect on a level like no other.
The Quest to Find the Yellow Brick Road
A Rather Mathematic Beginning
I must have always wanted to dedicate my life to music, right? Actually… not at all. Though my musical journey began in elementary school watching Animusic and playing the recorder, my focus had always been becoming the world’s greatest mathematician.
If it weren’t for my brother choosing to play the viola his fifth-grade year, I never would have picked up the violin. In fact, I had my eyes set on the saxophone, with my inspiration coming from Lisa Simpson’s smooth sax solos. But like the little brother I am, I could not resist following in his footsteps.
This was a pattern for years; from making the state travel soccer team and promptly quitting to follow my brother to baseball, to picking up my brother’s textbooks at a young age and trying to learn along with him, I always looked up to him. That continues today. I love my family and they mean the absolute world to me.
The snow fell gracefully that night.
I was in my warm pajamas and the colors from the Christmas tree crept into my room. That night, my junior year of high school, lying awake in my bed at 3:30 am, I had the moment. After discovering and listening to Sleeping At Last for the previous five hours straight, the power of music hit me, and I did not stop crying the rest of the night.
I was so overcome with emotion because I found that music filled that gap that I never knew I had in my life. This is what I wanted to spend my life pursuing. From Elton John to The Beatles to Muse to Bill Withers to Luciano Pavarotti, I could feel everything.
Shifting My Focus/A Humbling Realization
This is what I wanted to do with my life. To succeed, I know I needed to get into a good music school. I joined the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as Chamber Music Connection, a local chamber music program. There I formed the Capra String Quartet with some of my closest friends in music.
Now outside my bubble as the school’s concertmaster, I saw I was not the best. Really, I wasn’t even close… All around me, players from all over Ohio, all starting from the age of 3 and 4 showed me what good playing looked like. I found myself in the back of the 2nd violin section and knew I had to catch up quick if I wanted to keep my dream alive.
I improved quick and continued to set my sights high. I was determined to get where I needed to be. I scheduled a trial lesson at one of the local conservatories and prepared to show off my improvement.
I planned out the day to the minute. I would get a lesson from the professor I wanted to study under, take a tour, buy a sweatshirt and go home feeling encouraged to keep working. When I opened my violin case in the professor’s office and placed the bow on the strings, it hit me like a baseball bat to the face:
“You need to reevaluate yourself because you are never going to succeed in life on the violin.”
When I got back home that day, I put my violin in my case, and for the next year, I only reopened my case out of obligation – never enjoyment. That one line from the professor shattered everything I held dear and any hope of pursuing music as a career.
I shifted my projected college major away from music performance and education and towards my second passion, Physics… particularly, the specialization of Astrophysics and Astronomy. I had convinced myself that I was going to be a physicist and enjoy every amount of what I wanted to do.
Freshman Year… Again…
Though I had begun to take my violin out again for enjoyment, took non-major lessons with the professor at The Ohio State University, and joined the University Symphony Orchestra, most of my time was spent in an old Physics building’s lounge, spending 50 hours a week working non-stop, struggling to make it through the class with the most difficult mechanics professor. Stress set in every week, feeding into the idea that going to orchestra rehearsal was wasting the time I needed to be spending on Physics.
I almost quit orchestra and lessons. That was almost the end of the journey for me, until several people close to me stuck it to me that Physics was the problem. It was not that I was spending 50 hours a week on school work that stressed me out and made me hate college, it was the fact that I hated what I was doing and attempted to suppress what I wanted to do.
I made the decision to move into Music Education/Performance and I haven’t looked back since. Under the tutelage of one of the leading string educators in the history of the field, Dr. Robert Gillespie, I furthered my knowledge of string instruments and prepared myself to better teach students and better play my own instrument as well.
When a Virus Shocked the World
Only twelve hours after arriving back in Ohio from the national American String Teacher’s Association Conference in Orlando, Florida, I received a notification on my phone that Florida had just been shut down due to the outbreak of a virus.
I remember thinking to myself, “What is ‘COVID-19’”? Well… COVID quickly became the topic of every conversation from there on out, as it transformed all ways of life, pushed all my classes online and completely changed the music field as I knew it.
Grabbing my phone during a practice break, one day in a nationwide lockdown, I clicked on a notification from one of my favorite YouTube Music Pedagogues and First Associate-Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nathan Cole.
He spoke of a challenge to learn a new piece from sight-reading to final performance in just five days as a precursor to a program that would help with effective practice and promises to transform our playing. This was the program for me, and those five days promised a winner and a spot in his summer program.
Months later, not only did I participate in his program, but I found myself working with him on the weekly towards the implementation of his online courses for musicians all over the world. I could help my education by learning violin as well as furthering my ability to teach others through this online platform. Looking back only two years prior, I could not have imagined I would find myself so ingrained in music.
Ever since the moment I came back into the light of music and started dedicating my life to it, I have picked up books. I have read from the greats. Simultaneously, I have learned from the greats, and I have found what works and what does not work. What sort of experience would it have been if I had not incorporated my technical knowledge and ability to apply my analytical skills from Astrophysics into music?
Because, music has evolved. And I know what you are thinking… you don’t think you can keep up with it. But as someone who was behind in music from the beginning, fell down to nothing, and picked myself back up to where I am now, I know anyone can do it with those to help them along the way. I have helped hundreds from all over the world evolve with the times to keep up with the direction of music.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want you push you out of sight of where you want to go and how you want to make it happen. From someone who experienced someone tear down their hopes and dreams by telling them they could never do it, the last thing I want to do is to recreate that. I want to help you to get to where YOU want to go. I just provide the resources and the coaching to get you there.
I find myself working even more than I ever did in Physics, but instead of dreading the time spent as I did outside of music, I love every minute of it. That’s because this is my calling. It is my dream to live through music, and to help my students and yes… help YOU realize this power of music in everyday life and enact everything you want to see happen through music. My goal is to help you reach your potential, as teachers, as performers, and as lovers of music, even if you do not see that potential. That is because anyone can learn to play and use music with whatever they are doing to be happy.
It is my goal to help you through the obstacles to get where you want to be in music. I am committed to help you get there… every step of the way.