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Devin Malloy M.M. ’17 has spent just four years away from his hometown of Colorado Springs, but he’s made the most of that time.
At Berklee Valencia, his first experience abroad, he completed the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) master’s program, was selected for a graduate fellowship, and formed a band, Masters of Piñon, with faculty member Mariano Steimberg and several local musicians.
Reflecting on his time in Valencia, he highlights “meeting people from all over the world, learning from the amazing faculty, collaborating with the diverse and inspiring group of musicians that was my class, and getting to connect with the local culture and music scene in Valencia.”
“I had a lot of goals when I arrived in Berklee Valencia and the Contemporary Performance program turned out to be the perfect vehicle for me to take the next step in my musical journey,” he said.
After two years in Spain, he moved to Chongqing, China, to work at Musicool Music & Art as a drum instructor, a position he’d heard about through the International Career Center. At Musicool, he gave drum lessons, taught music literacy and theory classes, and helped students prepare for accreditation exams with the London College of Music.
“Attitudes and culture surrounding music were very different from what I had experienced growing up in the U.S., where all of my instruction was always oriented towards playing and interacting with other musicians. During my time in China, the focus was placed on earning accreditations and developing technique, often in a solo setting,” he said.
While in China, he also codesigned a team-building program based on body percussion, hand drums, and other percussion instruments. “We would have rooms full of people improvising rhythms, writing songs, dancing to different beats, and playing musical games with each other,” he said. “Some of our clients included chess teams, college professors, marketing departments, and other music schools.”
“For many of my students I was their first foreign teacher, and neither one of us could speak to the other without the help of a translator,” he said. “The experience we had in getting to know each other, sharing our perspectives, and learning to communicate were just so unique and enriching.”
His return to Colorado, where he currently lives and works, was prompted by COVID-19. After spending time in India and Sri Lanka, he couldn’t return to China due to air border closures, so coming home seemed like his best option. Since then, he’s been teaching music production at the University of Colorado and instructing the jazz ensemble at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, all while teaching remote lessons for students in China on Friday and Saturday nights. He also works as an audio engineer at AML Recording Studio, where he’s designing an online Pro Tools course to help clients spend their time at the studio more efficiently and intentionally.
Malloy describes his teaching style as “very practical and hands on and perhaps even investigative. I often find myself joining students on these intuitive inquiries and then filling in the objective details around what we just created.”
“For me, the most gratifying part about teaching is giving students the tools they need to be able to create and express the feelings and views that they hold within themselves,” he said.