Melissa Starkweather

Melissa Starkweather

Key School Music Talents, Middle School Music Instructor
M.M., Opera Theatre, University of South Carolina
B.M., Vocal Performance & Theatre, Belmont University
Middle School, Key School

Melissa Starkweather is the Key School music director and a Middle School Music Instructor. She joined Carolina Day School in 2021 and has taught private voice, piano, and music theory lessons since 2017. Her background is in directing and stage managing children's theatre with FBN Productions, Carolina Opera Experience, Berlin Opera Academy's OpernFest, and Opera at USC. She is also an active freelance musician, and currently works as the soprano section leader at The Church of the Incarnation in Highlands, NC. Melissa hopes to inspire introspection and awaken passion within all her students.

Get to know Melissa Starkweather:

How would you describe your classroom?

"When students walk into my classroom, I want them to feel seen, safe, and valued. My goal is to empower my students to know that they matter, they are enough, and that they are capable. I create an atmosphere of mutual respect in which we can discover and cultivate our individual gifts. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, my hope is also to foster a sense of belonging, cultural responsiveness, and self-expression within my classroom."

What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? Why?

"Any musician can attest to the weighty pressure of constant rejection and criticism, which can be so easy to equate to one's self worth. I recently came across Lisa Olivera's book Already Enough, which explores 'embodying our full humanity, our goodness, and our inherent enoughness.' My hope is to carry these ideas of self-compassion into my classroom, so that students can feel safe and confident to explore and grow."

What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning?

“Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.”  — Yo-Yo Ma