Some people come and go in our lives. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same. At Creative Montessori Academy, this is Mike Begian.
Nothing will get in his way to teach the students at Creative Montessori Academy and the importance of music education. He demands excellence and encourages students to raise the bar, and his students respond.
The number of students that he has been able to impact is remarkable. Every year, there are students that come back from college and high school to thank him. A previous student said, “‘thank you for preparing me for a positive future and instilling in me the importance of hard work and commitment. You took me from knowing nothing about music to reading, playing and singing. It is paying off not only in my classes but in life. I’m grateful.”
Seventeen years ago, he came to Creative Montessori Academy to start a music program. Throughout the years, his classroom has been in storage closets and hallways. But this didn’t stop him from providing the best music education possible.
Since then, Mr. Begian has a classroom full of instruments and has built a program that includes honors and advanced band and choruses. He has poured his heart and soul into creating a disciplined, innovative and creative learning experience for students. A culmination of the students’ learned experiences is celebrated through a production at the end of the fall and spring semesters. This is a joy for the students, parents and school community.
Life before teaching
Mr. Begian is a Michigan native and traveled the world while performing before coming back to Michigan. He obtained music degrees from the University of Michigan, Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University and Wayne State University.
Using the gifts from his main instruments, which are percussion, piano and voice, he had the privilege of performing in sixteen countries and at memorable venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Sistine Chapel, Notre Dame, WestMinster Abbey, National Cathedral, Kennedy Center and Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.
He performed for five presidents, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, many celebrities and foreign dignitaries.
For ten years he was a featured soloist and announcer for the United States Army Band & Chorus, often performing at the White House. He was also the Founder of the U.S. Army Barbershop Quartet.
After many years, he made the difficult transition from performing to teaching so that he could fulfill a dream of making a direct impact on kids’ lives.
It had also become difficult to travel and the thrill of seeing and meeting influential people had dwindled. Having a family and raising kids with his wife meant more to him, so they moved back to Michigan where he found his current music teaching position.
Mr. Begian also gives private lessons and has gotten involved with the musical community in the Downriver area by being the assistant conductor and conductor for the Downriver Community Band, playing on its percussion section, being a guest announcer and vocal soloist.
Is there an end?
What most people don’t know about Mr. Begian is that he lives in constant pain. He has survived the past 14 years with muscular dystrophy (MD). The disease has slowly started to take over his body, making his muscles and the ability to move around harder.
This is not hindering him from making an impact on students and continuing to do what he loves.
When asked when he will retire, he responded with “until I cannot lift my arms anymore.”
The energy that the students give him every day is what is driving him. The more that he gives to kids, the more they pour into him.