Tag: David Matchim

The Matchim Advantage

Words: Celina Wong

Photos: Zach Grable

What was your life like eight years ago? Many of us were in elementary or middle school, when our biggest concern was who we were going to sit with at lunch. For teachers and parents, many of you were in the process of building your careers and families.

Eight years ago, David Matchim walked through the doors of Centennial High School and vowed to create a prestigious band program. Now, Matchim has been named Music & Arts 2018 Music Educator of the Year and has created one of the best wind ensembles in the entire country. He attributes the foundation of his success to the book, The Happiness Advantage, written by Shawn Achor. The book describes seven basic principles that readers can use to create a more positive outlook on their lives. Its purpose is to correct the idea that happiness leads to success, not that success leads to happiness.

Matchim stumbled upon this book during a rough time in his life when he needed guidance.

“I had a tough year where I was feeling particularly negative, and I was questioning whether or not I still wanted to be a music director,” Matchim stated. “I was searching for ways to change my outlook, or perception, on what I was experiencing. I ended up doing an internet search, and that’s when I came across The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.”

The Happiness Advantage is based on the philosophy of positive psychology. It proves that people function and perform better when they are in a good place emotionally.

“It’s kind of like a car. When it’s well-tuned, it operates better,” Matchim illustrated. “For me, I needed to see that there was actual research done that shows that physiologically we do better, if we think positively. That’s what really sold me [on the book].”

The book has changed Matchim’s perspective on his life.

“What I like is that the book isn’t about being positive all the time. It recognizes that we’re [all] human,” Matchim explained. “The book really talks about living life with rose-tinted glasses, rather than with rose-colored glasses. It’s not about being naive and thinking that everything is going to be perfect all the time, but seeing the good things that are happening that we may have been blind to otherwise.”

Javeria Diaz-Ortiz, a four-year band student, struggled in her sophomore year and voiced to Matchim that she was considering quitting band.

“[Matchim] said, ‘Everything is fine. You can do whatever you need to make yourself comfortable, but I just want you to know that I want you in this band,’” Diaz-Ortiz recalled. “I will always remember that interaction because I feel like I can depend on Mr. Matchim. It really changed my opinion and perspective on him and I know I can go to him if I have any problems.”

Diaz-Ortiz is not the only one who has experienced the pressure that comes with a competitive band program. As a result, Matchim has found an approach that helps his students relieve some of their stress.

“I have recently had a number of teachers come up to me and say, ‘What is the magic trick?’ Some people who don’t know me think I run the program kind of like a dictator and that I’m really hard on people all the time,” Matchim said. “But, I don’t think that’s the case.”

For Matchim, the key to helping students achieve their goals is to be involved in the process.

“I can have high expectations, but I think the difference is that some people put the expectations on others, and don’t try help them achieve it,” he shared. “That’s the biggest thing. People have to feel that you’re on their side. If I set an expectation, I try to make sure I’m an active participant in getting people there.”

Similar to Diaz-Ortiz, Matchim faced a few obstacles where he too felt like he was not doing the best he could to succeed. He related this back to one of Achor’s principles, Falling Up.” It discusses the idea that failure and suffering teaches us how to be happier and people are ultimately more successful because of it.

“I would say, probably four years into my career here at Centennial, I wasn’t meeting my own expectations about where I wanted the program to be. I got very discouraged because I thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job, as I was constantly looking ahead and I wasn’t looking at where we came from,” Matchim noted. “I think that for me, reading the book, and the whole “Falling Up” principle, made me realize that failure is okay, and it is a part of learning. That is something that a lot of people are really afraid of. After reading the book, I understood a little bit more that even though we are not meeting the expectation yet, we’re making progress there.”

One idea that Achor emphasizes in The Happiness Advantage is the idea of a support system. He thinks that “the most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward.”

Matchim applied a similar approach with his ensembles.

“The joy is that [the students] have relationships with each other, and not just me. Sometimes, they are honest with each other. I’ve heard students tell someone they need to work harder. I have also seen people say, ‘You’re doing a great job; keep doing what you’re doing. You sound amazing,’” Matchim added. “I think the community we have in the band program is why we are largely successful because they want to play well for each other. It’s not about me. It is more important to me that they feel like they have each other.”

Matchim takes the main idea of the book that happiness creates success and applies it to how he teaches his students and creates a safe environment within the band room.

“It’s really about community. I would like to see it happen in other places in the school too because we’re better with each other,” Matchim said. “I think there are a lot of insecurities to try to keep up, and at the end of the day, going back to the book, I think it is because everyone is feeling like they are going to be happier if they are more successful. But, every time they are successful, they move the goal post further away. [They] keep doing that and [they] aren’t ever happy. [They] have to be happy in [their] own shoes.”

Before Matchim established a sense of community within the band program, he used competition to fuel his students, as that was the broad stereotype of Centennial that was painted before he began to work there.

“I figured that I was going to use [competition] and they’re all going to try to be better than each other all the time, and that’s why the band is going to be good. We were good, but we weren’t great. My numbers in the band program were staying about the same,” Matchim explained. “Then, I realized that something that was missing, that what they needed in band was the sense of community. That’s when I shifted gears and a lot of that had to do with the book. I tried to get them to be supportive of each other, and not just better than the person next to them.”

Matchim has also seen the effects of this book in himself and others around him.

“If you want to do something that you are passionate about, you’re going to be successful in it. I think with the Shawn Achor book, the reason I am experiencing success is because I love what I do. Now that I am 35, I have a lot of people who are in pivotal places in their careers and I’m noticing that my friends that are nailing it —regardless of what field they are in— love [their jobs],” Matchim stated. “There are outliers. There are a lot of people who are successful and unhappy. But, the bulk of people who pick something that they love are doing that.”

Along with the book, the people of the community have helped Matchim win the award of Music Educator of the Year.

“What feels good about it is that these are community-nominated awards. There are a thousand plus people nominated for this, who are supported by people from their community, parents, graduates, administrators, other teachers in the county. Other people are recognizing what we’re doing,” Matchim explained. “What is cool is that the source of the award is that people are recognizing and appreciating the work that is happening. And I think that’s huge. If you love teaching, the way that I do, and if you love music, then you want to know that your community values you and values what you’re bringing to the table. That’s what feels really great about it.”

In an exclusive interview with The Wingspan, Achor expressed how he is moved by the work of Matchim, as he paved the path for thousands of students who have sat in his band classroom.

“I wanted to help the helpers by validating that their behavior and mindset really matter,” Achor said. “In a time when anxiety and depression are at historic highs in our schools, when you see champions like David Matchim, you realize that hope exists for positive education.”

As Matchim traces the foundation of his happiness and achievements back to the novel, Achor feels like the book has reached its purpose.

“If David was the only person who read The Happiness Advantage, I’d feel like the book was a success,” Achor said. “He took the words and made them come to life for the students and teachers in his life.”

With the title of 2018 Music & Arts Music Educator of the Year, Matchim has received recognition from those in other states who admire him and his band program.

“I think that’s cool for our students to know that there are other people, music teachers, and music kids who know about our program,” Matchim explained. “That’s more of an opportunity to feel thankful, and then people end up putting in more support. It’s just a nice cycle to be in. I hope it’s always this way. It may not always be this way, we’ll probably have highs and lows, but I think right now, this is a pretty cool place to be.”

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This article is featured in the 2019 Senior Issue.  To see the full issue, Click Here!

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Strutting with the Staff

Words: Sandy Eichhorn

Photos: Michael Merkey

On Thursday, February 11, teachers from all Howard County High Schools came to Centennial to compete in Strutting with the Staff. Centennial had sixteen teachers who impressed the judges and crowd, winning the competition. Centennial teachers Kathryn Carlsen, Antoinette Roberson, David Matchim, Megan Cleveland, Page Barnes, Alexandra Ward, Susan Helmrath, Erin Fisher, Cathy Aballo, Claire Hafets ,Tracy Scaltz, Jennifer McKechnie, James Zehe, Carole Sormanti, Bernadette Mullinix, and Christopher Panzarella, performed a group number, and Centennial’s Senior Dance Company danced during intermission.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

County GT and All-State Bands

Words: Sandy Eichhorn

Contributions: David Matchim

The following students have been accepted to either the County GT or All-States Bands:

HS GT Band (Grades 9-12)
Ken Chen, Clarinet
Helen Yang, Clarinet
Tom Zong, Clarinet
Frank Kou, Tenor Saxophone
Jack Cole, Euphonium
Keegan McCardell, Horn
Jerry Sun, Clarinet
Ashley Chu, Flute

All-State Jr. Band (Grades 7-9)
Helen Yang, Clarinet
Valerie Hsieh, Clarinet
Robert Gao, Bassoon
Keegan McCardell, Horn
Joanna Park, Horn
Eric Ko, Trumpet
Alexander Wu, Tuba
Jackson Rowles, Percussion

All-State Senior Band (Grades 10-12)

Ken Chen, Clarinet
Claire Lee, Clarinet
Tom Zong, Clarinet
Polly Moser, Bass Clarinet Alternate
Lexi Wilkerson, Bassoon Alternate
Dora de Melo, Horn Alternate
Andrew Frommer, Trombone
Braden Vaughn, Percussion

 

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan

A Fantasy or a Dream Come True?

Words: Ashley Berry

Photos: Izzie Chausse

On October 13, 2015, Lisa Choi will set a new precedent for Centennial High School. Choi, a senior at Centennial, is a flutist in the Wind Ensemble. “I am very proud to say that I am from the Centennial Wind Ensemble,” said Choi, but there is no better way to “go out with a bang” than to perform a ten to eleven minute solo for your community.

Choi will be performing Carmen Fantasy by Borne Bizet at the Centennial Wind Ensemble concert, directed by David Matchim. She said, “It is definitely an honor to perform with the best Wind Ensemble in Howard County.”

Matchim, the director of Centennial’s Wind Ensemble, said, “She is an amazing player but she is also a very sweet, funny, humble person. She is incredibly musical and she’s mature beyond her years.”

Growing up, Choi experienced a childhood full of music. At the age of six, she started playing the piano and in fourth grade, she picked up a flute for the first time, unaware of where it would take her. Choi said, “I didn’t know I was going on a musical path until this year. I decided that I am going to practice music [as a career]. I will be studying at a music conservatory [after high school].”

Choi has been studying at Peabody for six years, and she is currently studying under Dr. Rachel Choe at Peabody Preparatory. Peabody Preparatory is a premier community school for the performing arts. “To me, Peabody is my second home,” said Choi, “because of the environment created by people who take music really seriously.”

Formerly, Choi performed as a soloist with the Columbia Orchestra, the Howard County High School GT Orchestra, and the Peabody Youth Wing Orchestra. She has also performed in honor recitals at Peabody Preparatory. ­­Matchim said that at a solo performance in band class last year, “students stood up and clapped for her when she was done.”

In fall of 2014, Choi preformed Carmen Fantasy with the Peabody Youth Wing Orchestra for the first time for a concerto competition where she won first place. She then performed it a second time in a master class at Curtis, a music institute in Philadelphia, this past summer.

Due to her preparation and previous performances, Choi is not too anxious about the performance. “I think [performances for my] private instructor are more nerve-racking [than performances for my peers] because he/she knows what I am actually doing and can be [more] judgmental than my peers,” stated Choi.

“When I first received an email from Mr. Matchim earlier this summer about performing a solo with the wind ensemble, I was shocked. In the history of Centennial no one had had the opportunity to perform as a soloist,” said Choi.

When Matchim decided to have a soloist perform with the band, he knew whom he wanted to pick. “I think she’s very clearly a standout in the group to not just me, but to the students too. She’s going out and performing in other venues with other orchestras and ensembles. I felt that it was only appropriate that she gets the opportunity to do that here,” Matchim said.

Ecstatic to have the solo, Choi is thankful for everyone who has helped her in her path to success. She said, “A lot of people helped me get to where I am now, and it’s impossible to thank them enough for their care and love. I want to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and letting me become who I am now, my teachers who made my musical path possible and gave many opportunities to shine, and I want to thank Mr. Matchim for making this happen.”

The Wind Ensemble concert will be on October 13 at 7:00 p.m. Come to the auditorium at Centennial to support and listen to Lisa Choi, as well as Centennial’s Wind Ensemble.

There are no tickets for this concert, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person, or $10 per family.

 

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Music Arts Take a Trip to Virginia Beach

Words: Nicholas Klein

During the weekend of April 10 through April 12, the orchestra, band and choral groups at Centennial High School took a weekend trip to Virginia Beach to participate in a spring music festival. Almost every student in an orchestra, band or choir took the long coach bus journey to the beach.

Jessica Cummings, the choral director, Allen Leung, the orchestral director, and David Matchim, the band director, all supervised the trip to Virginia. All music groups from Centennial High School competed and performed at the spring festival. For the duration of the trip, the students and staff stayed in a hotel.

The various music groups from CHS won first place Orchestra, first place Concert Band, first place Concert Choir, overall concert band, and overall orchestra. In addition to these prestigious awards, Jesse Kinstler won the award of best vocal soloist.

“Camaraderie was very high on the trip,” said Allen Leung. “The trip wasn’t about the things we do or the awards we win, but about the friends that we are with. The students had a lot of fun on the bus rides because they were with their friends playing games and talking with each other.”

Congratulations to all members of the Orchestra, Band, and Choir!

First Annual Strutting with the Staff

Words: Ashley Berry

The Howard County Public School System Educational Foundation, Bright Minds, hosted their first ever Strutting with the Staff on Saturday, March 21 at Glenelg High School. This fundraiser raised money to benefit the Bright Minds Foundation and the Students of the Howard County Public Schools.

Strutting with the Staff was a dance competition for all staff and teachers of HCPSS. Teams of dancers competed for votes from people in the community as well as a selected panel of judges: County Executive Allan Kittleman, Becky Funk from Monster’s Dance and Coleen West from the Howard County Arts Council.

The Centennial High School team started to practice in January. Theo Brown and Rebecca Clark, two teachers at Centennial, choreographed the dance and taught it the other 13 members: Mrs. Hafets, Mr. Dorsey, Mrs. Helmrath, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs Fleegal, Mr. Matchim, Mr. Barrett, Miss Hammers, Mrs. Reynolds, Ms. Fisher, Ms. Carlsen, Mrs. Beall, and Ms. McKechnie.

There were 3 different categories of winners: most money raised, most entertaining and judge’s choice. After all their hard work, the Centennial team took home first place for all 3 categories and was named the grand champion.

Many of the staff members on the team had some experience with dance or performing. Barrett and Brown did Step for their fraternity, Hammers was on the dance team when she was a student at Centennial, Fisher has experience in Irish Dancing and Reynolds participated in Centennial’s show, Dancing with the Staff, last year. Also, Carlsen and Matchim are Centennial’s theatre teacher and band director.

On the other hand, there were members of the team, such as McKechnie, who were not dancers and did not have any experience. She said, “The dance was difficult for me to learn because I have not done this kind of thing before. I also wanted to make sure I got it right so I didn’t let the team down!”

“We had some very talented dancers on the team, but as far as our success goes, I think that ultimately it was the patience, dedication and expertise of Mrs. Clark. She had the vision to put everything together and gave us great instruction and encouragement,” said McKechnie. “We had so much fun! It wasn’t everything, but winning was great and I would definitely do this again!”

Dancing with the Staff Takes Place at CHS

Words: Miranda Mason

Photos: Caitlin Martin

On April 16, 2013 Dancing with the Staff took place in the CHS auditorium at 7 p.m. At the event, students in Senior Dance Company paired up with a teacher and each couple competed for first place.

The event began with a performance by Senior Dance Company, and the duos were introduced with a video of the students interviewing their dancing partners. After all the couples had performed, an intermission was held so the audience could place their votes for their favorite pair. Each member of the audience received one vote with the purchase of their ticket, but additional votes were also available for 50 cents each.

Following the intermission, another performance was given by the Senior Dance Company, and all the dancing pairs were brought onto the stage for a round of applause and the announcement of the winners.

Third runner up was Ashley Grooms and Kathryn Carlsen with their performance of Roxie, second runner up was Teresa Franey and Karen Reynolds with their performance of Beat It, first runner up was Gabrielle Pisciotta and Kevin Dorsey with their performance of Lose Control, and Kelly McGowan and David Matchim won first place with their performance of Kung Fu Fighting.

“It was awesome and a lot of fun,” said band teacher and first place winner Matchim. “The best thing about the night was seeing the other teachers dance.”

Dancing with the Staff was not only fun for the performers, but also the audience. Many students brought signs to show support for their favorite duo, and each pair was introduced onto the stage with a huge round of applause.

“It was well worth it and a wild experience,” said sophomore Steven Wysocki. “They rocked my socks off.”