We are excited to welcome Carol Feather Martin, who has joined us as a Piano Teaching Artist. Ms. Martin has an extensive teaching background spanning more than four decades, both as a private music instructor and a director of instrumental ensembles. She welcomes students of every age and level, from complete beginners to serious advanced students. We are excited to have Ms. Martin joining our music faculty—read our Q & A with her below to learn more about her!
What excites you the most about joining the Mason Community Arts Academy?
I was quite excited when I learned about MCAA and the fact that it is part of a prestigious university. The breadth of the programs offered by the Academy is quite a valuable resource for the community. The Academy’s program is a way to keep the arts in the spotlight and to supplement the programs which have been seriously reduced or deleted from the public schools. Quality arts education and literacy are vital to the complete health of every society. I am truly excited to be part of this growing program and organization.
How did you first fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music the day I was born. My parents are both musicians, and I was always part of any music activity in my home. I learned to read music at age three and a half. Even from a young age, I never wanted to be anything else other than a musician. My parents provided me with the best education possible and supported all my decisions while never pushing or demanding.
Tell us about a teaching experience you have had that was especially memorable.
In one facet of my career, I directed children’s choirs, and there was a little boy with Down Syndrome who came to the rehearsal. I eagerly welcomed the family to join the circle of young singers. When we played singing games, all of the children assisted me by taking turns leading the boy through the motions until he was able to do them on his own. When the children took turns leading rhythmic patterns for group clapping, the boy readily volunteered to lead with great enthusiasm. His personality was infectious and kept the choir on its toes.
His love and enthusiasm were totally obvious. After the choir season ended, the boy’s parents told me that his verbal skills had completely exploded and that he was now speaking more eloquently to everyone. Both his parents and teachers attribute his breakthrough to the year of singing and his love of music. The real lucky one in this experience, however, was me. He and I had a special bond, and the reward that I got from seeing him blossom was unparalleled.
What are some unique things you do when you teach?
My lessons are infused with laughter, historical information about the music, and curiosity about the interests of my students other than piano lessons. I work to give students a toolkit for learning music so they can continue to enjoy musical activities throughout their lives with or without formal lessons.
Do you have any pets?
Pets have always been a part of my life. Currently, I have three rescued cats – one of whom is almost 17 years old. I also have been the mom to a series of rescued Great Pyrenees dogs.
What else would you like us to know about you?
While a student at Oberlin, I had an opportunity to learn the basics of metalsmithing in a jewelry course. After many years, I began taking classes again about five years ago. I have recently started my own business to make some of my unique pieces of wearable metal art available to the public.
In my musical life, I am also a conductor for instrumental, choral, and handbells ensembles. I love planning thematic programs that are educational for the audience as well as inclusive with other arts and media.