Maria McDonald

Maria M.

Atlanta, GA

Lesson Details

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About

Maria passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Maria delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 3+ and special needs

Teaching since:
January 2002

MISSION STATEMENT:

The mission of my studio is to create well-rounded, educated musicians who will always have a lifelong passion for the art no matter their long-term goals. I strive for my students to be:

(1) Lifelong learners who develop successful learning habits.
(2) Creative and critical thinkers who will become effective communicators.
(3) Responsible and respectful members of society who respect other cultures.
(4) Able to set short-term and long-term goals and be able to see them through to their success.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY:

It is of the utmost importance that my students are well-educated in their chosen instrument; they must know and understand music and music-making. Students who can play are a dime a dozen, but students who understand the music they are playing are often hard to find. I teach students to know music thoroughly, not just to “play.” I desire my students to comprehend elements of the score, to use their bodies effectively to make good sound, and to interpret music creatively and according to historical performance practices across all genres of music. Thus, I give students a purposeful education in technique, quality literature, performance and artistry, music theory, and music history.

Although students differ in ability and development, I maintain high expectations for our students. I expect attention and respect in lessons, faithful and diligent practice, careful adherence to instructions, and an “I’ll-do-my-best” attitude. If students regularly meet these expectations, then they will excel to the level that they are able. It is my joy to help students master their music, to do the best they can, and to strive for and achieve excellence.

Lastly, I want students to enjoy and appreciate their instrument, music, and music-making; and I know as as a teacher, I am very influential in making this happen. Students develop enjoyment of music by understanding music, experiencing success in music, being exposed to good and varied genres of music, and receiving instruction from a teacher who is enthusiastic and encouraging. It is my goal to provide all of these opportunities for students, and as a result their lives will be enriched as they enjoy their instrument.

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Experience

Private Music Teacher
Jan 2005 - Present
M. Music Studio

Pianist/Soprano
Jan 2005 - Present
Freelance Classical Musician

Languages

English
Fluent / Native Proficiency
French
Fluent / Native Proficiency
German
Limited Proficiency
Italian
Fluent / Native Proficiency

Certifications

Suzuki Piano
Jul 2010
Suzuki Association of America

I am certified to teach all levels of piano via the Suzuki method.

Affiliations

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Apr 2013

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Alexander Technique International
Jun 2009

Alexander Technique International (ATI) is a world-wide professional organization created to promote and advance the work begun by F. Matthias Alexander. Its members include teachers, students, and friends of the Alexander Technique. ATI embraces the diversity of the international Alexander Technique community and is working to promote international dialogue.

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National Association of Teachers of Singing
Aug 2008

Founded in 1944, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members worldwide.

Actors' Equity Association
Sep 2004

Actors' Equity Association, founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 49,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.

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Music Teachers National Association
Aug 2004

The MTNA was founded in 1876 with the goal of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. With nearly 22,000 members in 50 states—and more than 500 local affiliates—the MTNA is the preeminent source for music teacher support, where members embody like-minded values and commitment to their students, colleagues and society as a whole, while reaping the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.

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Photos & Videos

Isn't this the most adorable thing you have ever seen? #MyStudentsAreTheCutest

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Student wants to dress up for a Halloween recital? No problem. :-)

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17 Reviews

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Jasmine Jul 22, 2017
Acting · In studio

Best acting coach I've ever used. Helped me land a supporting role in an upcoming movie taping here in Atlanta. I would highly recommend her to anyone.

Dan Jul 11, 2017
Music Theory · Online

Great teacher. Much better than my theory teachers at Kennesaw State. If it wasn't for Maria I would have never gotten an A or even passed Music Theory or Aural Skills. I plan to start working with her in the fall to help me test out of Group Piano.

Elizabeth Faye Jul 10, 2017
Piano · In studio

Our child has done so well with Ms. Maria. Lauren has just completed Level 5 of the ABRSM exams this past spring and did fantastic. This is our 5th year with Ms. Maria and we know we made the right choice by switching studios. Lauren is happy and progressing much farther than others in her previous studio. Highly recommend.

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Stephen F. Jul 8, 2017
Guitar · In studio

If you want a teacher who spoon feeds to you, this is not the teacher for you. If you want to actually learn and get to a place where you can explore on your own, Maria is wonderful. I personally wasted years going to teachers who would teach me exactly how I wanted but I couldn't do anything outside of lessons because I was never taught the foundation. Maria helped catch me up and now our lessons have turned into something I didn't know they could be. I'm learning new techniques and it's fun to apply them to the music I love. She's a positive teacher, but still strict. You will learn a lot.

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Xing Mai Jul 7, 2017
Piano · In studio

Wonderful teacher. Helped me train for concerto competitions and is my frequent duet partner. She helped me get into Curtis for my Master degree. Very blessed to be a part of Ms. Maria's studio.

Grace L Jul 1, 2017
Broadway Singing · In studio

I have grown so much as a singer and performer with Maria. She's attentive, fun, engaging, and knowledgeable. I originally met her as the accompanist for the Lion King and she's been my go to coach every since. 😊

Jeffrey Eklund Jul 1, 2017
Singing · In studio

Wonderful. Great teacher. Great accompanist. Highly recommend.

Marco Jul 1, 2017
Singing · In studio

Maria was really nice and friendly.
The lessons were fine, but I expected her to play better piano.
I still learned a lot about singing.

Carla Peterson May 25, 2017
Piano · Online

Maria is wonderful. We couldn't have found a better teacher if we tried. :-)

Richard M. Apr 27, 2017
Guitar · In studio

Maria has taught my son for the past 5 years; 4 years in person, 1 year (so far) on Skype. We found her through a referral and it was the perfect fit. She was very attentive to his learning abilities and ambitions. He loves guitar but didn't want to play professionally however she never backed off on him. He has learned many styles and has gone through all levels of the Mel Bay Guitar series. James could easily have gone on to college and he plays better than some in the music program at his school, but instead he just keeps up with it for fun. Maria hooked him up with the guitar teacher at his college so he plays in the guitar ensemble, jazz band, and a worship band while taking FaceTime lessons with her once a week. He's studying to become a pediatrician but I'm so thankful Maria has really helped make music a lifelong outlet for him. James choose a very stressful path but I truly believe the guitar has helped keep everything balanced.

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Lillian R. Apr 27, 2017
Opera Voice · In studio

I am so thankful for Maria. Coming out of college I didn't quite know what to do. I began taking lessons with Maria based on a referral but honestly wasn't expecting much. I will always feel horrible about that because she is the best thing that could have happened to me. I've grown more in the past two years than I did for the 5 years in undergrad. I've been offered a full ride to University of Houston next year but I will continue to sing her praises and work with her whenever I am back in town. I'm dreading that our last lesson is approaching because I couldn't have gotten where I am without her.

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Tara Apr 27, 2017
Film Acting · In studio

Maria has coached me for every audition and part I have gotten for the past 5 years. She was referred to me by another one of her students. She is worth every penny. I'm moving to LA as I've just been cast as a series regular on a new ABC comedy but will be coaching with Maria online. I will be forever her student. She's a complete genius.

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PATRICIA Jan 21, 2017
Ukulele · In studio

Maria is patient with me as a beginner. She works with me on my level to play things that interest me.

Jennifer Burmeister Sep 15, 2016
Piano · In studio

I really enjoyed my first lesson with Maria. She was able to quickly assess my skill level and listen to my goals to create a custom plan that works best for me!

Aayat N. Jul 17, 2016
Piano · In studio

Great instructor.

Advaith T. Jun 11, 2016
Piano · In studio

Maira has been a blessing. She is very patient and is willing to work with students of every level. She is awesome!

Jacob L. May 8, 2015
Piano · In studio

Maria has been an absolute blessing for our family. Piano is something both my wife and I wanted for our children to learn, but having 4 boys where their interests are only video games and football, it can be difficult. Also since my wife and I are from from musical, we had absolutely no clue what to expect. We had gone through 3 other teachers where our kids didn't advance at all. Maria was our last try and we are so thankful for the referral.

Maria really connects with the boys and they absolutely love her. To top it off, she's very motivating, organized, and for the first time with any teacher, she had an action plan. We knew where are kids were with progress regularly. We also we informed how to keep them motivated at home and how to get them to practice. My oldest son (14) has gone through 3 levels in 1.5 years and has actually been asking about joining the jazz band at his school. My 3 other sons (6,8,9) have been steadily going through the levels and most importantly are able to apply what they are learning to music Maria doesn't teach them. My 8 year old was actually describing what a chord progression was the other day to his grandfather and used the word cadence. I had to google what that meant on my phone!

Her location is also perfect. As long as they have something to do, Maria doesn't mind them sitting in the living room while she teaches a lesson so it enables me to run to the grocery store or bank which are less than 2 miles from her home while the kids are in lessons.

We are extremely pleased with Maria and I would recommend her to anyone. She is worth every single penny. Our family will be moving to John's Creek this October and we will be making the drive once a week through Atlanta traffic happily.

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