Dimitris Zaimakis, 41, is a composer and musician from Crete, Greece, who came to Charlotte in 2008 to teach music and conduct choir at Socrates Academy, a K-8 North Carolina public charter school in Matthews.
Why he teaches: “The joy I derive from music is so great and makes me so happy, I simply must share it with others. The most pleasure I get is when I plant the seed of musical curiosity and then see this blossom and grow. To experience children performing songs that have been sung for generations is truly a gift. Teaching is my muse; it is my life.”
Cultural crossroads: “Crete is a cultural crossroads unlike any other in the word. It is equidistant from the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. Growing up there, walking in the villages, I heard music and patter of all sorts of different and exotic origins. it is a huge melting pot that has greatly influenced me as a composer and teacher of music.”
Connecting with children: “When I’m able to connect with children, I can see it in their eyes; there is a fire, a spark of understanding. In certain teaching approaches, complexity can all too easily be mistaken for quality. I allow them to experience the playfulness and the joy of creating music, which makes them free to express themselves.”