Meet the Opus
Instructor of Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone, Music Theory
How long have you been teaching?
Since 2013, plus a few students here and there before that.
Which Opus Music Academy locations do you work? Do you have your own studio? If so, where is it located? Do you offer in-home lessons?
I teach at the Plymouth location, but I’m open to teaching at the other locations, as well. I live in a live/work artist loft in Northeast Minneapolis that is perfect for lessons.
What is your studio story? How did you get to where you are now?
I started teaching myself guitar in 1984… Ten years later, I decided to find an instructor. I made rapid progress under his direction and loved the process so much I set a goal to be a guitar teacher myself one day. A few years into my lessons, I decided to go to the University of Minnesota to get a degree. However, only a couple months before I applied I got a phone call – it was a job offer for teaching guitar at a place called Champlin School Of Music. I took the position and have been teaching at many different locations ever since!
What is one thing you think you do really well as a teacher?
I recognize which areas in a student’s playing we can make the biggest and most efficient progress.
What do you do to retain your students?
I’m flexible and open to working on whatever a student may want to work on and I’m able to guide a student with materials that I think are worthwhile.
What is your niche? What sets you apart from other teachers?
I can teach structured improvisation, free improvisation, and extended techniques (weird sounds).
What is your favorite band, artist, or composer? Why?
My favorites tend to be sax and clarinet players who are both virtuosic on their instrument and progressive composers who invent a new sound or style, such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, John Carter, Henry Threadgill, Mike Lewis of Happy Apple, Colin Stetson, and Francois Corneloup. I also have a lot of very talented friends who I enjoy listening to.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I own two classic cars, I’ve recorded at Capitol records in Hollywood multiple times, and toured Nepal with my quartet to play the Kathmandu Jazz Festival.
Let’s say you’re having coffee with a brand-new teacher. What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started?
Celebrate the small wins – for example, we could learn a scale the student has never played before and be playing it up and down within a couple of minutes.
Let’s say you’re visiting with a teacher who is feeling burned out. What advice would you give to them to give life to their studio?
For starters, have at least one day a week with no teaching at all. Second, I would try starting all of your lessons with something new, like a fun tuning app or an exotic scale.
What is your craziest idea? What is something you would do if money, time, and space weren’t an issue?
I released an avant-garde large ensemble LP titled DOUBLE SEPTET. If money, time and space were no issue, I would book a world tour for this band.
If you weren’t a music instructor, what else would you do with your life?
I would be a photographer. I love getting great shots of friends and family as well as nature and design.
Want to learn more about Matty? Email us to find out more and to set up a free trial lesson!
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