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Matthew

I hold a B Mus (Performance Jazz Drums) degree from McGill University in Montréal . Before changing my major to music I also studied Neuroscience and Eastern Religions for two years in McGill's Faculties of Science and Arts. Since completing my degree, my experience as an educator has included 2 years of teaching through education non-profits in Montreal and Detroit, working in K-12 classrooms to engage students both in music and in academics through arts-infused activities. I spent another year substitute teaching in the metro Detroit area, which included a 2 month assignment teaching my own high school Chemistry and Physics classes. I also have 3 years of experience teaching private lessons on drums, guitar, and piano.

I tutor a wide variety of subjects - music and math are those I am most passionate about. When speaking about the intuition that led him to his theory of relativity, Einstein remarked that his new discovery was "the result of musical perception." This resonates with my very strong belief in the role that developing one's creativity plays in developing one's ability to truly understand - not just memorize - the knowledge and information that one is trying to internalize in any academic subject. Sometimes developing creativity means engaging with the arts directly through music, dance, visual arts, etc. It also means turning the sometimes frustrating moments of not understanding into opportunities to be creative, to find new ways to approach a problem - and having fun while doing so. The best part? You develop academic skills AND life skills at the same time. After a teaching session it is always my hope that students walk away not just more equipped in the specific subject area, but also more confident and curious about their approach to solving problems of any nature.

In my time outside of teaching I am an active drummer, composer, and producer, I attend and organize many art performances and events, and I spend time meditating and being out in nature as much as possible.

Undergraduate Degree:

 McGill University - Bachelors, Music

Music (Performance, Composition, Production), Dance/Movement Arts, Visual Arts, Meditation, Nature

AP Music Theory

Music

Music Theory

Other

What is your teaching philosophy?

The most effective way to teach is not so much to 'teach,' but to 'guide.' The role of the teacher should be not just to present information and encourage regurgitation, but to guide students to the questions that they can ask themselves and to different entry points into a problem so that their knowledge and understanding can be self-sustaining.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Talk and get to know the student. Do some kind of creative activity together - free word association, stream of consciousness writing, something of that sort. I would certainly want to get a sense of what they are having trouble with in the relevant academic subject, but it is important first to establish some kind of connection with and understanding of the student as another human being. In medicine they say 'treat the patient, not just the symptoms.' For me, in teaching this means - 'know the student, not just their learning difficulties.'

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By guiding them to search for new entry points or new ways of approaching a question or problem to figure out what works for them. By cultivating curiosity. I try to answer questions with different questions whenever possible as to avoid just dishing out answers to problems.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

By highlighting their 'aha!' moments, and reminding them that they never know how close the answer is to them. It's important to hold in one's memory the moments when something that felt SO difficult suddenly made sense.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Break it down to the simplest parts necessary and build from there. Everything can be broken down into manageable steps/chunks. Often, difficulties arise from not understanding one small part of a whole, and once that is sorted out, the pieces can come together.