Under the Monocle: Maya Toffler leaves her mark on the music department

Produced by Isabelle Downey


Toffler jams out on the ground during her talent show performance with graduate Ben Pavlik. Photo by Maddy McGreal.

Ellie Ryan and Isabelle Downey

Graduate Maya Toffler is a musical chameleon. You’ve probably seen her jamming on the bass during the talent show, whether it be on the floor or behind a man in a wedding dress. You also may have caught her shredding on the violin during York’s spring musical “Bright Star.”

Few students are more involved in the music department than Toffler, a student who has truly made music her home at York. She’s always had the passion to be a musician, her skills beginning in second grade as a violinist and translating to a wide variety of musical pursuits.

“Around middle school I had a music class, and we had two days in guitar, and I decided I was going to start teaching myself guitar,” Toffler said. “Throughout middle school I got really obsessed, and I wanted to find out how many instruments I could teach myself. I allowed myself to try lots of things, and I landed on violin and bass guitar.”

Toffler’s inquisitive spirit and self-taught nature led her to more avenues in music, finding herself in music production classes in high school. Maya started in the introductory music production class, followed by Music Production 2. The second class gave her more freedom to work on her own music, and helped her find her passion for sound mixing.

“I don’t think I knew that York had these classes before I was a freshman, and then I heard about them,” Toffler said. “I’ve been totally hooked.”

These classes have proven not only vital to her high school career, but her college career, as she is headed to Indiana University to study Audio Engineering and Sound Production in the fall.

“[It’s] all thanks to music production classes here,” Toffler said.

Her major will help her further understand the “science behind sound,” along with achieving more skills in the field of sound mixing. Along with working on her own music, she also uses her expertise to help other students who are making music at York.

“She’s always willing to be there at any moment to either help record a bass part because she’s a brilliant bassist, or help me with lyrics,” senior Bridey Costello said. “She is always there and ready to attack a new song… she’s going to do really great things with her music.”

Outside of music production, Toffler is extremely involved in the music program, having participated in practically every section of the department. She has played for the York Orchestra every one of her four years, contributes her skills as a violinist to both choir and band concerts, participated both onstage and in the pit for York Drama’s musical productions, is a member of Record Club and jazz band, and also plays for many bands in York’s Amateur Musicians Club.

“She, holistically, is one of the most integrated people we’ve had, and she understands that being good at one thing is awesome, but being good at a whole lot of things is way more awesome,” said choir and drama director Rebecca Marianetti.

Toffler also cites her participation in the many different York ensembles as one of the most important parts of her high school career, leading her to widen her music horizons and take part in exciting, diverse musical opportunities while making great connections along the way.

“I’ve met so many new people because of just having the opportunities to be around them. I think I’ve gotten to know some of the kids in choir from being in the musicals, and I’ve gotten to know kids in band thanks to participating in jazz band, and things like that,” Toffler said. “It’s completely changed the people that I talk to on a regular basis, and also a part of my career path too now that I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of experience in a lot of experience in a lot of different areas of music this year… I feel like I’m a little bit more prepared to step out into a career in music, feeling like I have a background in a couple of different things.”

Maya’s advice to incoming music students and current music students is simple:

“Say yes to every offer you get,” Toffler said. “Get to know the band directors, the orchestra directors, all the faculty in the music department. And then get to know the kids. There’s always people hanging out in the locker room area, and everyone is nice. The more that you get to know people, the more they’re going to know who you are, and the more you’re going to be asked to join in performances, or recording on people’s projects.”

The music locker room and department will certainly miss Maya’s presence next year and her giving spirit as a musician, but looks forward to all the amazing things she’s yet to accomplish.

“I think she’s a great role model for anybody who wants to go into music because her work ethic is exactly where it needs to be, but also her spirit and the way she gives to other performers onstage is exceptionally mature for her age,” Marianetti said. “Whether it’s bass, or violin, or being in the musicals, or being in her rock band, she puts her heart and soul into everything.”