Myah Russell, 21, began teaching herself to play the piano at 13, but had no formal training until she took classes at Macomb. She now counts the college’s music faculty among her circle of friends and credits them for helping her decide to pursue a career as a church pianist and songwriter.
“I have had great professors at Macomb. They are genuinely interested in their students,” says Russell, who earned an Associate of General Studies Degree last year and is now pursuing a Certificate in Music Performance. “Tom Cook (music professor and director of the Macomb Symphony Orchestra) has been a huge influence and mentor.”
Russell is the fourth eldest in a family of 10 and was homeschooled, as were her nine siblings. When she turned 18, she began considering colleges within commuting distance from her home in Almont in Lapeer County. Undecided about a career, she wanted to take time and explore all of her options. Macomb came highly recommended by older siblings and family friends as a place where she could do just that. It also offers a special affiliate tuition rate for students living in Lapeer County and other communities not served by a community college.
“The affiliate rate was a big deal,” affirms Russell. “I didn’t know what to expect and a community college was the best option for me. I’ve been able to stay out of debt entirely, and it made for a comfortable transition. Music has always been a part of my life, but I hadn’t really considered it as a career. I was excited when I found out I could complete a music performance certificate with a general studies degree.”
At home, Russell plays on a “hand-me-down” piano, a gift of a family friend, and teaches private piano lessons. She is a worship leader at her church and has decided to earn a bachelor’s degree in Music and Worship Studies online from Liberty University after she completes her Music Performance Certificate at Macomb. All of her siblings also play instruments or sing, and her parents are “thrilled” that their fourth eldest has decided to pursue a career in music.
“My dream job would be writing and selling my music,” relates Russell, who is recording an album of her original songs that she intends to make available soon on Spotify. “I’ve never had a bad experience in music.”
Although her many outside interests and responsibilities keep her busy, Russell has found time to join Macomb’s Intervarsity Christian Fellowship student organization. Just another reason she will remember Macomb as the “warm, friendly place” that encouraged her to grow into the musician she was meant to be.
“I’m glad I took my time,” says Russell. “My experience at Macomb has been all-around great.”