At the age of 2, Carla routinely attended musical theatre with her father, who volunteered as an usher at the KRNT Theatre in Des Moines, Iowa. Those early experiences made a strong impression and helped her develop a memory for music. At the age of five she could play songs on the piano by ear. By the age of twelve she could listen to a song once and be able to play it on the piano. She entertained classmates by playing songs from the radio, and was kicked out of the local music store for reading the sheet music without buying a copy. Around this same time she wrote her first musical program for church, and discovered a love of performing on stage whether it be with piano or her clarinet, which her parents bought at a garage sale. Encouraged to become a teacher, she knew that’s what she wanted to do, and all before she became a teenager.
Thanks to her early musical development, Dr. Maltas is an active proponent of exposure of live music performances to children, especially underprivileged youth who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. She has written, co-written, and produced multiple children’s operas and children’s musicals, including “Mo Goes to the Symphony” which introduced kids who had never seen an orchestra to the magic of the symphony close-up, and to the idea that they could be musicians themselves.
Dr. Maltas research interests include rural music education, an area where many times a music teacher faces the unique challenge of being the only musician in town. She also studies arts integration, the combination of musical, dance and visual arts. She has researched implementation of the Orff-Schulwerk and Kodaly methodologies, music education methods from Germany and Hungary respectively. Dr. Maltas herself is a nationally certified Kodaly educator and holds a Master's certificate in Orff-Schulwerk. Folk and multicultural music round out her research specialties.
Dr. Maltas is the chair of the committee working to reinvigorate the Essig collection at UCM, one of the country’s finest collections of historic musical instruments. Maltas has overseen refurbishing of the instruments and the creation of an online photographic catalog to make the collection, which is housed on campus, more visible to the public.
Whether it’s exposing deprived kids to live music, rural teachers to resources, or a hidden historic collection to the world, Dr. Maltas identifies needs and addresses them with talent and passion, as surely as she can hear notes and pick them out on a piano.