Mr. Clay McKinney

Cello Teacher

Clay McKinney

SAA Member


Chesterfield, MO
[javascript protected email address]

Youtube Channel—Sample Performances
Youtube Channel—Sample Teaching

Mr. McKinney holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from University of MO St. Louis. Currently he is the director of orchestras at Parkway Central Middle School including its Honors and Chamber Orchestra.

From 2003-2012, Mr. McKinney was the cellist for the afternoon contemporary service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama. The Advent 5 O’clock Band performs throughout the Southeast and has recorded two albums, “Lift Him Up” and “In the Hand of the Maker,” both of which feature cello solos written and performed by Mr. McKinney. Mr. McKinney’s own cello arrangement of Amazing Grace can be found on “In the Hands of the Maker,” available from cdbaby, Amazon, and iTunes.

From 2007-2012, Mr. McKinney performed as cellist for the Blue Galaxy String Project in Birmingham, Alabama. An eclectic band, the Blue Galaxy String Project is an instrumental pop group that plays a wide variety of music including The Beatles, Dave Brubeck, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Radiohead, and others. All members of the group are classically trained musicians who are comfortable performing practically any style of music.

Clay McKinney has immersed himself in the music community by serving as a teacher, leader, lecturer, clinician, conductor, and performer. From 2007-2012, Mr. McKinney taught strings at the Booker T. Washington Magnet Arts High School in Montgomery, Alabama. During his time there, his students won numerous awards and honors including first place and honorable mention in the Chamber music competition of the Alabama Music Teachers Association (member of MTNA), superior ratings at the Alabama Chapter of the American String Teachers Association competition, prizes and honorable mentions at Montgomery’s Artistic Competition for Exceptional students, and advanced placement in the All-State Orchestra festival. Mr. McKinney’s students have been asked to perform often in the community for various events and fundraisers. Several of his students also perform with the Symphony there, the Montgomery Symphony and other local groups.

As a leader, Mr. McKinney served as President of the Alabama Orchestra Association (AOA), where he organizes festivals and the AOA’s participation in the annual conference of Alabama Music Educators Association (member of NAFME). The AOA seeks to promote orchestral playing around the State including the All-State Orchestra festival, where more than 200 talented music students experience a weekend of intensive learning and orchestral performance.

Mr. McKinney remains involved as a conductor and lecturer. He has presented workshop lectures on “MusicaListening, Discussions on Music and the Brain”, “Amazing Slow Downer App, how it works and what it teaches us”, and “Build a better phrase, Build a Better Ensemble; the art of mapping the bow”, at the local, state, and national level including the Alabama Music Educators Conference, Missouri Music Educators Conference and the American String Teachers Association National Conference, and the Technology Institute for Music Education (TI:ME) National Conference. He has conducted school orchestras including the Hazelwood East High and East Middle Orchestras, Booker T. Washington String Orchestra and has been a guest conductor at the Alabama Southeast District Honors Orchestra.

Mr. McKinney makes his home in St. Louis Missouri with Julia Sakharova, where Julia is a violinist in the Arianna String quartet, in residence at the University of Missouri St. Louis.