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Max Kelm, 3/5, huisblogger ArtEZ Business Centre

Max Kelm, 3/5, huisblogger ArtEZ Business Centre

Between Tacos and New Challenges


In February I traveled 3 weeks through Mexico with a very good friend of mine, starting in the capital: Mexico-City. I have never seen such a huge city. We landed in the evening and from the sky I could see an ocean of little lights – beautiful. The first things I recognized were the extremely good weather conditions, the very spirited people and the big selection of street food! The Mexicans love their tacos and prepare them in diverse dishes. Main ingredient is Tortilla, a flat sheet of dough made out of corn flour. The only problem was – Im vegetarian! And Mexico is a country of meat… AHHHH! When I asked them to make my taco, burrito or tostadas without meat their reaction was: Sin carne?!… Pollo?… (which means chicken). And when i strictly neglected meat most of them were very surprised. But of course there have been locations and stores where they also offer vegetarian options, though they are not easy to find! However, I’ve seen different spots while traveling from the capital to the east coast of Mexico. I have been in big cities, small villages, beaches, jungles, seas and cenotes. You may ask now what is a Cenote. It is a beautiful natural waterhole filled with sweet water, mostly it is a cave and sometimes turtles are swimming
underneath you. They are fantastic places. Maybe you know “El dia de los Muertos” which is a festival to celebrate the dead, where everything is colourful, flowery and a fiesta. Well, Mexico is in general like that. They love extremely shrill colours. A lot of their buildings and houses are painted
in different colours.

Well, why did I go to Mexico? Actually, it was not on my bucket list. But my friend asked me a few months ago and I spontaneously said: YES! And why not taking a 3 weeks holiday although you just started working? Luckily, all my employers confirmed my trip and it was no problem at all. I gathered a lot of inspiration from this very different culture, the countryside and of course the people, not only for my occupation as a composer, but also as a human. Mexico is definitely worth it a visit!

New Job, New Challenges

In my last update I talked about my new job as a piano teacher. In January I started with 3 students. Now they multiplied to 8. Six of my students are very young. My youngest student is 6 years old. My oldest student is about 50 years old. I never taught piano before, so this was quite anew experience for me and although I have visited didactic courses at ArtEZ, I find it hard to teach adequately. 6 of my students just began playing the piano with me which is beautiful but how do start teaching anything where neither any knowledge is present nor the haptic skills are available -So, start from Zero! For me it is a task with a big responsibility, because I can show those children the beauty and magic of music or I can scare them off because it is too complicated, too much or the worse – too boring! I started teaching them little melodies and I accompanied them. I like to play together with the kids because they don’t have the skills to play both handed yet. It is a little success moment when they interact with the instrument and hear a broad and nice sound or song. I made the experience that they smile and are happy. I also decided to not teach them notes. First I want them them to approach music in general. I want them to have fun and give them that space to create a passion for music. When they are becoming better I will teach them notes. 2 months passed and I recognise that feels so good and right to be a teacher and to be the initiator for people who want to explore the world of music!I was offered a new job as a lecturer at a private music school in Bonn. Most likely I will take over2 courses and I will teach music production and sound engineering. It will begin in May. This is going to be another challenge, because the students are already young adults and have some basic knowledge about the topic. I will tell you about it in my 5th Update.


The teaching job is very nice to do and it ensures me a steady income, but I am also a composer and trying to finance myself with creating music for different projects: Finally I started working at the 3rd season of KUNTERGRAU. It is a web-series about a squad of gay young men and their struggles in life. The production has gained a lot of reputation the past 4years. There are more than 4 million streams on YouTube and within the community it is a popular web-series. Unfortunately I cannot give to much information about the story line or the content but I can tell that their will a be a big premiere at the Cine Dome in Cologne. 700 people can come and watch the entire season together with the cast and staff of KUNTERGRAU in June. Herewith in the link you can find all information and all the episodes.

And I finished my work for the dance performance of “Detached Separation.” It is about the alienation of movements, inspired by boxing and one’s isolation in aggression. Nathalie Vermeiren & Danielle Huygen are performing in march several times. Below you can find the dates and a snippet of the music I made for it:

  • 05-03: cafe theater festival Utrecht: 20:00
  • 06-03: 20:00 and 22:00
  • 07-03: 17:30, 20 and 22
  • 08-03: 15:30, 17: 30 and 20:00
  • 20-03: ’t werkhuys Antwerpen; 20:00


What did I achieve?

As I mentioned already in the beginning of this Update, 8 months have passed since my graduation. Since 6 months I am living in Cologne. I planned to be financially independent and pay my rent, food and other costs by earning money with music. I am teaching now since 2 months. Unfortunately it is not enough to cover all my costs. So I am still working at the Indian restaurant. At the moment I am just earning a little money with composing, although I have had two projects with “Detached Separation” and “KUNTERGRAU.” The first one is a student project with a very low budget and the second is completely non salaried. But I am enthusiastic that I am getting paid adequately for future projects. Also with my band Plattentektonik I am earning money, it is less but it is a part of my whole monthly income. When I am starting with my new job in May I can stop working at the restaurant and achieved my goal to completely finance myself with music. In my first blog I was talking about my concept of the spatial sound concerts, which I wanted to realise in cologne. I decided to not put effort into it the coming months because I have to set priorities. This concept needs a lot of time, diligence, communication, nerves and energy, which I do not want to spend into it at the moment. But I am sure that I will in future!

Max - Kelm Conservatorium Arnhem

I am Max Kelm and I graduated this year in Composition for Film & Theater at the conservatory in Arnhem. When you read that, you might think of Hans Zimmer scores with huge orchestras and big drums and epic melodic lines, but I am paving a completely different way. I am not a Hollywood-style composer! I aim to be innovative in what I do and I’m trying to create a completely different concept of live music presentation. Originally, I was born and raised in Germany (Essen) and came to the Netherlands in order to study. Now, 4 years later, I moved to Cologne to fulfil my visions and to earn a living with my music.