Join us for a weekly feature as we introduce you to our private instruction faculty members! First up… Mr. Dustin Merrell (who teaches private voice, acting, and audition prep on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
Q: Where are you from? How long have you been in the area?
A: I was born in Virginia, but raised in Columbia, MD. I have been here for most of my childhood and adult life.
Q: Which areas of study do you teach? How long have you been teaching?
A: I have taught piano and acting lessons, but my primary focus is in vocal training. I have been teaching privately for six years.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching private lessons?
A: I love to see the moment when something "clicks" with a student. When that happens, it’s rarely due to my instruction alone; rather, it happens when a student begins to learn how to practice, and how to set and accomplish personal goals. When a student tells me about an obstacle that he or she has tackled – away from the private studio – I can’t help but feel proud and fulfilled. As an educator, one of my significant goals is to teach students how to problem solve.
Q: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you in a private lesson?
A: I once helped a student prepare for her third callback for Matilda on Broadway. It was really crazy to help this young performer prepare the same 32 bars from one of Broadway’s hottest musicals over and over again.
Q: What do you do outside of teaching?
A: Professionally, I also work as a musical director and accompanist. Outside of work, I spend my time composing, playing video games, and watching sports. I am an impassioned sports fan; in fact, I just formed a softball team. We will be playing double-headers every Thursday, for ten straight weeks.
Q: What’s one fun fact that we should know about you?
A: I’m an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings six times (in addition to Tolkien’s other works). When I was in 7th grade, I joined a Tolkien literacy club. The club hosted an in-school Lord of the Rings trivia competition every month, and after winning my third competition, I was asked to refrain from participating. During that time, I also learned how to read and write in Sindarin and Quenya (the two prominent Elven languages in Tolkien’s works) – a skill I still possess.
Mr. Dustin’s studio hours are often full months in advance. Give us a call at (410) 849-6335 today to inquire about availability with him or any of our other highly-qualified private instructors in voice, acting, piano, audition prep, on-screen acting, and more!