It is with a joyful heart that I welcome you to My Music Starts Here. As passionate musicians and educators, Mike and I have always been fiercely dedicated to giving children and families the very best experiences with music. Now, as parents to our own two young children, that passion and dedication has only deepened. I credit them with pushing Mike and me to refine our strengths, work harder, and commit ourselves to pursuing our dreams. To have a platform through which we can reach and engage with a larger audience, providing them with high quality music education, a path to building a stronger, more resilient brain, and some joy and laughter is truly a dream come true. And we are so grateful to have you along with us.
Mike and I have been working on this project on and off for over five years. We loved our jobs as piano teacher and early childhood music teacher, but we were also feeling pulled to do more with teaching music than the physical limitations of our piano studio and classroom would allow, and we wanted to spend more time together and more time with our then 3-year-old son. After our second child was born, the pull to make a change so we could spend more time together as a family and to do more with our musical and teaching abilities became even stronger and we knew it was time to give this project a real chance.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Mike and I have had the opportunity to take our best teaching practices from early childhood music education and piano pedagogy and combine them into a complete, foundational curriculum for young children. We reached out to brain researchers, speech pathologists, reading specialists, and special education teachers to ensure that everything we did was not only accessbile, but incredibly beneficial to all children. We worked with a development team to make sure that our website was built with the magic and energy of young children at the heart of it. And we got to work together, creating something that filled us up as musicians, teachers, and parents. We are so grateful for this opportunity.
Thank you for taking the time to check out My Music Starts Here. We love having you as part of our community, and we hope that you find everything you need to surround the young kiddos in your life with musical joy.
Mary has had the wonderful opportunity to teach preschool and elementary general music for over twelve years. Through that experience, she has become solidified in her passion to give all children quality musical experiences and believes that it is something that children deserve, not something that only a lucky few get to experience.
Growing up in a musical household, Mary was surrounded by music and she soaked up every note of it. As she started her own musical journey, she had wonderful teachers who taught her the power of sharing and participating in music with others. This is something that she carries with her and strives to pass along to the children that she teaches ~ music connects us as human beings, and everyone can find a way to participate.
Mary received her Bachelor’s degree in Trumpet Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and went on to get her Master’s degree in Music Education from Boston University…where she met Mike on the first day of class! Working on these two degrees helped her to find her own musical voice and prepared her for reaching children through music. However, her most powerful learning moments have come from watching children react to music in her classroom. Those are the moments that have driven her to this new platform, to try and reach more children through music – giving them authentic, fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate musical experiences with the intent of building a strong, resilient brain with a musical foundation that will last their lifetime.
When she’s not working together with Mike on My Music Starts Here or teaching her own students, she is performing classical trumpet, singing anything that comes her way, and practicing ukulele. She loves to be at home with her boys – playing in the yard, working on house projects, making a mess in the kitchen, and snuggled up on the couch.
Since starting his own private piano studio, Mike has found working with students one-on-one to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable educational experiences. He believes in providing others with an opportunity to have an authentic experience while creating music. This occurs when sound is explored, discussed, analyzed, fused with physical technique, and felt in the heart. Teaching another to create music means involving yourself just enough into another’s process as a guide to explore without becoming a tyrant who dictates. Mike always hopes to be the guide.
He has been teaching piano full-time since 2006. He completed degrees in music and psychology from the University of Dayton in 2001, then dove straight into diversifying his resume working as an agricultural research assistant, flower shop delivery driver, barista at a coffee shop, land surveyor, and roofer.
After coming to his senses and realizing that he should probably use the degree he earned, he went on to Boston University where two important things happened: he earned a Masters degree in Music Education, and he met his wife Mary on the first day of class!
In addition to working with his own students as well as My Music Starts Here, Mike is an active member of the local Music Teacher Association where he has served as president. He also works regularly as an accompanist, soloist, and composer when time permits.
In those few moments when he is not teaching, editing videos for My Music Starts Here, or preparing for lessons, Mike likes to be outside with his family and moving as much as possible, whether it’s hiking, running, biking, boating or anything else!