Mark S MerittMaster Teacher Schenectady, NY, United States
Potluck Creative Arts
After having taught traditional piano methods for a total of seven years, Mark is now a Master Simply Music Teacher, helping students achieve breakthrough results as New York’s most experienced teacher of this extraordinary piano learning method since 2008. He is also the creator of the Tune Toolkit Composition & Improvisation program, being used by Simply Music Teachers & Students around the world.
Since childhood, Mark has been deeply involved in music. He began playing the piano at the age of four. While still in high school, Mark composed and co-wrote his first musical, Cupid’s Arrow, which he also directed and conducted. Later, he composed and co-authored another original stage musical, The Right Circles. Mark has performed and composed for many events and productions, with New York City venues including The Supper Club, The Duplex and Gilda’s Club. He has also made multiple appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, including a special Christmas segment with Rosie O’Donnell.
As a songwriter, Mark was recognized in 2003 by Billboard’s 11th Annual Songwriting Contest with three Honorable Mentions, two of which were designated as Top 500 songs. Also that year, the Songwriters Resource Network’s Great American Song Contest called his work “exceptional songwriting.” In 2008, he began working as The Offhand Band, writing, producing and releasing original songs for kids and families, debuting with the album Everyone’s Invited.
With extensive experience improvising in many styles, Mark serves as Musical Director for the Mopco Improv Theatre, the premier improv venue in New York State’s Capital Region, providing accompaniment for many of their shows and also teaching classes.
In addition to music, Mark has many other eclectic pursuits. He wrote his first full-length screenplay at age 16, and as a Theatre Arts major at Cornell University (BA 1992, Phi Beta Kappa), Mark studied directing with Pulitzer Prize nominee David Feldshuh. Having been represented by the Farber Literary Agency (NYC) and Susan Smith & Associates (Beverly Hills), Mark has numerous other accomplishments in theater and film. Mark also has strong intellectual interests centered around science, systems, psychology and positive change. These led him to write an award-winning thesis on sustainability for the City University of New York Graduate Center (MA 2001), and to various other writing and educational endeavors. With Simply Music’s focus on natural learning processes and breakthroughs in creativity, Mark is able to draw from not only his musical background but also his other interests in positive change, helping him bring significant benefits to his students.