This week we feature one of our busiest Teaching Artists, Matheus Garcia-Souza ’14 MM. Originally from Londrina, Brazil, Matheus started teaching during his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri, with students from the ages of 6 to 50.
In his second year of teaching in New Haven, Matheus now has about 40 young students total. Not only does he teach 15 beginner string students at Lincoln-Bassett Elementary School, but on Saturday he directs the All-City Honors Orchestra, with about 25 students of all levels. In the summer of 2013, he also directed the String Orchestra of the Morse Summer Music Academy.
He says of teaching the ensembles, “When Rubén invited me to direct the Morse Academy String Orchestra, I was ecstatic! I really enjoy working with a young string orchestra, perhaps mainly because I never had the chance to be part of such a group.” Having grown up taking only solo lessons, he found suddenly having to learn to play in an orchestra when he started school very challenging. “The kids from the New Haven Public Schools, however, have a chance to learn this spirit of collaboration in a much more friendly and gradual process. It makes me really happy to be able to guide them through this process which, I believe, molds one's character, behavior, and collaborative skills in the most positive ways.”
Personally, he also feels enriched by the process of teaching: “I feel that my communication skills have improved significantly, not only when teaching, but when speaking in public, to an audience, or a group of friends. Additionally, my individual playing has also improved, probably because of constantly thinking about the basics of playing and the importance of a strong and solid technical foundation. Sometimes when we are buried with music to learn we tend to forget to keep polishing our own technique.”
Though he graduates from the YSM this year, Matheus says he does hope to continue to incorporate teaching into his career as a musician, “so that I may be able to inspire other students to share the same experience with future generations.”