Thomas LaJoie is a professional violinist and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools orchestra teacher. He taught at Myers Park High School for 16 years and became the orchestra teacher at Randolph and Alexander middle schools this year. He also is a part-time faculty member at UNC Charlotte, acting as their symphony orchestra director.
Teaching at different levels: LaJoie, 42, works with college students and younger students to get them ready for two performances a year. Middle and high school students work more on learning how to play an instrument, focusing on technique. At the college level, it’s more about rehearsals and practicing more advanced pieces.
Hard work pays off: LaJoie enjoys teaching so much that he plans to continue after he retires. Although “it can be stressful putting a performance together, once you get to the concert, and they present their hard work, it’s presented well and received well, it’s rewarding,” he said.
Pursuing music: LaJoie finds time to play with the Lyric Arts String Quartet, Salisbury Symphony and the Carolina Baroque Orchestra. “It takes a lot of extra time but it’s worth it, especially when you get to perform pieces you love and know you’re part of an ensemble making that music. It’s rewarding and exciting.”