The Center for Musical Arts has a variety of talented teachers that teach several different classes. In this interview, we sat down with Max Mondzac, who teaches guitar, ukulele, and banjo at the Center. Watch or read to get to know more about Max, his background in music, teaching style, and other interests.
Center for Musical Arts: Hello! My name is Erica Reid. I’m the Marketing Manager for the Center for Musical Arts and we’re continuing our series where we’re getting to know the faculty of the Center. Today I am here with Max Mondzac. How are you, Max?
Max Mondzac: Hi, I’m doing great.
Center: Great. Can you start us off by letting us know your history with the Center and what you teach?
Max: Sure. Yeah, I’ve been working at the Center for a few years now. I think I started around 2017 and it’s been a real pleasure to work there. I’ve been doing guitar lessons as well as ukulele lessons and even some banjo lessons.
Center: All right. And what drew you to study and teach guitar, banjo, ukulele?
Max: I absolutely just love music. So for me, it’s just a way for me to be involved in music, express myself. I also love sharing music with other people. So, playing songs we both like, working on a certain riff or chords or scales or getting into the theory, it’s all very exciting to me. No matter which instrument, I love it. And yeah, it’s just what I love to do. It’s my passion.
Center: I was reading that you’re a pretty versatile guitarist. You have earned awards playing classical guitar and you mentioned that you teach styles, including finger-picking, percussive steel string, metal, blues, jazz, folk, and more. What draws you to such a wide range of styles and do you have a favorite at the moment?
Max: Sure. Yeah, I just love all of those styles of music. So for me, I just can’t help myself, but to kind of go down each pathway and explore each genre. My favorite at the moment is probably like percussive finger style on my acoustic, percussive steel string. However, yeah, my favorite does change from time to time. I love classical guitar as well and such. Yeah.
Center: So, I imagine that versatility plays into what you were saying earlier about the way that you teach. Bringing different styles in and meeting the student where their interests are.
Max: Absolutely. Yes, I really try to cater my lessons to my student’s interests. So whatever style of music you’re most excited about, we will definitely check it out, learn all about it, and I’ll make sure we’re playing music that you enjoy in our lessons.
Center: Have you had a teacher or a mentor yourself who has helped shape your path or your interest in guitar?
Max: Absolutely. I’ve had several great teachers over the years that have been mentors and big influences on me. I’m from Seattle. So when I was taking guitar lessons in Seattle, I had a few teachers back there who were fantastic.
Center: It’s a great music scene there. [laughs]
Max: Oh yes. Seattle’s awesome. Yeah, Nirvana, Hendrix and the list goes on. [laughs]
Center: So, when you are not teaching music or learning all of these many varieties of playing style, what else is filling your life these days?
Max: I love the outdoors, hiking, trail running, backpacking, just being outside is honestly my favorite thing to do besides music.
Center: Wonderful. Well, is there anything that we haven’t covered here that you think would be useful to know for prospective students who were thinking about taking up guitar, banjo, ukulele, and think that you might be a fit?
Max: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re unsure about it at all, you’re more than welcome to set up a trial lesson, or just give me a call and I’m happy to talk to you and just give you a little bit of info about it and see if it’s a good fit. So please don’t be shy about that.
Center: All right. Awesome. Thank you so much for talking to me today, Max.
Max: Yeah. Thank you.