You would never guess that Maxim Golubev, Class of 2024, has only been playing the piano for three years. If you visit Maxim’s Youtube channel, you’ll find videos of him practicing fast and difficult compositions such as Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu Op. 66,” or Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Flight of the Bumblebee.”

Maxim sports a shy grin when you ask him about his technique. “First I pick out a piece that I really like, and that I know will be challenging for me,” he explains. “For the parts that are difficult, I play them very slowly at first, pressing my fingers down hard on the keys. Once I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of it, my mom will record me, so I can listen to myself and keep practicing and improving.”

For a middle school student, Maxim already has a deep grasp of the importance of perseverance when taking on formidable compositions. “Mastering a piece is all about small, steady steps. It takes patience and confidence that you’ll get a little bit better every time you practice.”

When looking at middle schools, Maxim was drawn to Parker’s large, outdoor campus and wide offering of music classes. “At my old school I could only be in band … at Parker, I could take strings, orchestra, percussion, and more—that got me really excited to learn more.”

Since starting at Parker, Maxim has enthusiastically taken on learning the violin, which he says has expanded his love for music. “Music has taught me to never give up. People are so quick to move onto the next thing if it’s not working … but music makes me feel differently. Anytime I master a piece that seemed impossible, it inspires me—and lets me know that I’m going in the right direction.”

Mastering a piece is all about small, steady steps. It takes patience and confidence that you’ll get a little bit better every time you practice.

MAXIM GOLUBEV, CLASS OF 2024