Other Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area
During my first stay in San Francisco (1984-87), I taught privately.
After my return to San Francisco in 1989, I began developing the idea of introducing children to music through making musical instruments with found objects. In the hands-on process children would learn about how sound is produced in the different families of instruments, would be introduced to acoustic principles, and would develop basic musical skills such as blowing into a pipe or shaking a maraca.
In September 1990, I gave a workshop on “Creating a Musical Instrument” for children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. Earlier that year I had begun working for LEAP (Learning through Education in the Arts Project), an arts education organization that places artists in schools to work with classrooms and their teachers integrating music and art instruction with class curriculum. I began making instruments with children in my first residency with LEAP. This didn’t start as a premeditated plan. I was supposed to be teaching music to children but the school didn’t have any instruments, so I thought… let’s build some instruments. Then, as I observed children’s reactions through the residency, I began realizing that the hands-on process of making their own instruments had a lot of potential for introducing children to music.
I worked on and off for LEAP since 1990 to 2001. I gave seven-week workshops, developing unique programs for each situation. Creating musical instruments was only one of the activities in my residencies. When the instruments were made, I used them to teach children basic rhythmic and ensemble skills. I also created musical plays assembling together ideas provided by the children. In one occasion (1992), the residency ended with the participation of the entire Marshall Elementary School (children and teachers) in the San Francisco Carnaval Parade. Over the years, I work in the following schools:
- Holy Name Elementary School, San Francisco
Two 4th grade classes and one 7th grade class
- Sutro Elementary School, San Francisco
February 4-March 23, 1990
One 4th grade class, one 5th grade class, one 2nd/3rd grades class and one 4th/5th grade class
- Marshall Elementary School, San Francisco
November 25, 1991-January 23, 1992
One 4th/5th grades class, one 5th grade class, one 2nd/3rd grades class and one 1st grade class
- Marshall Elementary School, San Francisco
March 30-May 24, 1992
One 2nd grade class, one 3rd grade class and one 3rd/4th grades class – I collaborated with visual and dance artists to prepare the entire school (children and teachers) to participate in the San Francisco Carnaval parade
- Redding Elementary School, San Francisco
January 9-February 27, 1995
One Kindergarten/1st grade class, one 3rd/4th grades class and one kindergarten class
- Saint Dominic Elementary School, San Francisco
January 15-March 1, 1996
One 4th grade class, one 5th grade class, one 6th grade class and one 7th grade class
- Monroe Elementary School, San Francisco
February 1- March 24, 1999
Two 1st grade classes and one 3rd grade class
- GATE Intensive Art Summer School for gifted and talented students, Alameda USD
June 16-June 29, 1999
7 hours a day working with 3-5 grades students
- West Portal Elementary School, San Francisco
February 5-April 9, 2001
Four 1st grade classes
In July 1991, I taught music to elementary school children at Creative Campus in Sausalito, a two-week arts camp. I collaborated with Tori Truss, theater teacher, to produce a musical play with children, a modernized version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
In 1991-93, I was part of a group of three musicians (with multi-instrumentalist, Guillermo Céspedes and percussionist, Héctor Lugo) to present high, junior and elementary schools students with demonstrations and workshops on Cuban music in Oakland, Berkeley and Union City. Our work funded by the Berkeley Arts Commission, La Peña Cultural Center or contracted directly with the school.
During the 1993-94 school-year, I was a California Arts Council Artist in Residence at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. I co-taught, with Cuban musician Guillermo Céspedes, two weekly workshops throughout the school-year, one for youth and the other one for adults. Participants studied concepts of ensemble playing and play arrangements of traditional Cuban music.
During the 1993-94 school-year, I was a California Arts Council Artist in Residence at Marshall Elementary School in San Francisco. I worked once a week with two classrooms and I gave workshops for teachers.
On December 1993 and January 1994 I worked with thirty 5th graders at Edison Elementary School in San Francisco
In the summer of 1994 I began teaching at the Community Music Center (CMC) where I remained teaching for twenty years. My work at this institution grew consistently over the years becoming the central part of my educational activities. In 2002 I became the Program Director and continued in this position for ten years.
See more about my work at CMC in the corresponding sections.
In the mid-nineties, I began sharing my ideas and insights about how to integrate music in the school curriculum. In 1996, I gave a workshop for elementary school teachers and principals through the Arts Education Funders’ Collaborative. In 1997, I gave a workshop for 30 teachers of mathematics and science about ways to integrate music into math curriculum. This was part of the Bay Area Math Project by the University of California at Berkeley. In 1998, I gave a three-hour workshop for 60 school principals at the SF Symphony building sponsored by the Bay Area School Leadership Center. And in 1999, I gave a workshop for elementary school teachers and principals through the Arts Education Funders’ Collaborative.
In 1997 my daughter was a preschooler. This helped me to develop sensitivity for children of that age and motivated me to venture into doing some workshops for preschool and kindergarten. I created a different set of teaching materials, such as music games, songs and building very simple musical instruments. In 1997 and 1998, I gave a series of workshops at Albany Preschool in Albany. In May 1999 I gave three workshops for two kindergarten/1st classes at Diablo Valley Montessori School in Lafayette, which I repeated the following year, in February 2000. I also did workshops for kindergarten in 1999, 1st grade in 2000, 2nd grade in 2001, and 3rd grade in 2003 at Cornell Elementary School in Albany, following my daughter’s classes.
In 1998 I worked with my ensemble, Potaje, for Adventures in Music, an educational program of the San Francisco Symphony, giving educational concerts in elementary schools in San Francisco. We gave a total of 35 presentations in 11 elementary schools in San Francisco: Bessie Carmichael, Bret Harte, Dr. William L. Cobb, E.R. Taylor, Frank McCoppin, George Moscone, Hillcrest, John Swett, Lafayette, Lakeshore, and Paul Revere
On March-June 1999, I taught a 12-week residency at Manor Elementary School in Fair Fax working with two 5th grade classes. I was contracted directly by the school.
During 1999 and 2000, I work with my ensemble, Potaje, for Young Audiences of the Bay Area (YABA), an arts education organization that brings educational performances to elementary schools. We gave 13 educational concerts in the following schools:
- Marriot Hotel, K-12 children from Sausalito’s schools, August 2, 1999
- Thornhill Elementary School, Oakland, December 7, 1999
- Murwood Elementary School, Walnut Creek, December 17, 1999
- Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, December 29, 1999
- Monte Verde Elementary School, San Bruno, March 1, 2000
- All Saints Elementary School, Hayward, March 6, 2000
- Highland Elementary School, Oakland, March 22, 2000
- Glenview Elementary School, Oakland, April 4, 2000
I also did some educational concerts in schools with my ensemble Potaje contracted directly by the school. This was the case with Wren Avenue Elementary School in Concord. In April-May 1999, we gave an assembly presentation followed up by workshops for two 4th grade classes and two 5th grade classes.
In June-July 2001, I presented two participatory concert/workshops for children with two other musicians at the Zeum in San Francisco; an exploration of the world of musical sounds and a taste of Latin American and Flamenco music.
In August 2002, I was part of an international cast of flamenco artists teaching an intensive seven-day camp, Flamenco in the Redwoods Camp, at Mendocino Woodlands Event Center in Mendocino, CA. I taught a Flamenco Instrumental Ensemble class for adult students.
In August 2003, I was, again, part of an international cast of flamenco artists teaching an intensive seven-day camp, Flamenco in the Redwoods Camp, at Mendocino Woodlands Event Center in Mendocino, CA. I taught a Flamenco Instrumental Ensemble class for adult students and another one for children.
In February -May 2004, I did a residency at Crowden School in Berkeley. I collaborated with science teacher, Michael Leitch, on designing and implementing a twelve-week workshop on “Sound, Science and Music” for 4th grades. I also collaborated with art teacher, Beth Hird, on designing and implementing a parallel twelve-week workshop on “The Art of Making a Musical Instrument” for the same 4th graders – Each child made and decorated two musical instruments and a case to keep them safe. In science, children studied the qualities of sound, how sound is produced in the different families of instruments, what is vibration, frequency, volume, wave, overtones, etc. Children explored pipes, trumpets, kazoos, water instruments, bells, shakers, drums, and different types of string instruments. The workshop culminated with the creation and performance of a seven-minute musical piece inspired by a storm, which involved the instruments that children had made plus over a hundred instruments and noise makers I provided.
In February -May 2005, I taught again a residency at Crowden School in Berkeley. I collaborated again with science teacher, Michael Leitch, on designing and implementing a seven-week workshop on “Sound, Science and Music” for 4th grades. I also collaborated with art teacher, Beth Hird, on designing and implementing a seven-week workshop on “The Art of Making a Musical Instrument” for 4th graders.
In October 2005, I taught a rhythm class (one session) as part of QuartetFest, an intensive 5-day workshop for string quartets organized by the Del Sol Quartet in San Francisco. My rhythm class focused on the study of flamenco rhythms. There were 20 participants.
In November 2007, I taught a rhythm class (two sessions) as part of QuartetFest, an intensive 5-day workshop for string quartets organized by the Del Sol Quartet. My rhythm class focused on the study of flamenco rhythms and took place at the Children’s Day School in San Francisco with 20 participants.
In March 2008, I taught a Latin Rhythms Workshop to children in the ELM program (Enriching Lives through Music) – ELM provides free music education to elementary-age children who live in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood. The workshop took place at the Pickleweed Community Center in San Rafael
In January 2012, I taught a workshop to students attending Rachel Condry’s Improvisation at Mills College in Oakland. The workshop focused on the 12-beat flamenco cycle and the flamenco Phrygian scale.
In March 2012, I taught a Latin Rhythms Workshop to children in the ELM program and their families, about 60 participants, as part of their Family Music Nights at the Pickleweed Community Center in San Rafael. Enriching Lives through Music (ELM) provides free music education to elementary-age children who live in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood.
In August 2014, I taught, in collaboration with singer/educator, Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, a professional development workshop for San Francisco Unified School District’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teachers. The six-hour workshop was divided into two segments; first one for the entire group of 65 music, visual art, dance, and drama elementary school teachers, entitled “Our Voice and Sound Environment in the Classroom.” The second segment was specific for music teachers, about half of the group, and was entitled “Integrating Latin Music Rhythmic and Melodic Concepts in the Elementary School Music Classroom.” We produced a ten-page workshop handout for teachers to take home. The workshop took place at the Community Music Center.
In February-March 2014, I was a member of the chamber music trio Bernal Hill Players, teaching and performing, as part of Composing Together residency at Longfellow Arts and Technology Middle School. Composing Together is an organization that brings professional composers into classrooms to work with students to create and perform new music together. We presented four sessions at the school, one of them was an assembly concert playing with the students, premiering the freshly finished musical works.
In July 2014, I taught at Cello Camp in Berkeley, a camp for cello students, age 6-14. I gave two rhythm workshops for 15 students each, during five days. The workshops focused on developing rhythmic skills through games, rhythmic movement, singing, clapping and playing shakers and cajones. They took place at Black Pine Circle Day School in Berkeley.
In November-December 2014, I gave a seven-session workshop as Composing Together composer-in-residence. I worked with 17 string players from Stephanie Holmes’ 7th grade orchestra, to help them compose a five-minute piece entitled Starry Heavens. The new composition was premiered at the end of the residency.
In February 2015, I was part of a team of three musicians and an astronomer providing public schools in Oakland with assembly presentations about music and astronomy. The program was entitled “Is Anyone Listening Out There?” We did assembly presentations in three schools in Oakland, Thornhill Elementary School, Westlake Middle School and Montera Middle School. The other musicians were Katrina Wreede, violist/composer, and Jessie Ivry, cellist/composer. The astronomer was Steve Matthews. This project was directed by Katrina Wreede and managed by Composing Together.
In January-March 2015, I gave a seven-session workshop as Composing Together composer-in-residence. I worked with 15 brass and percussion players to help them compose a 2-minute piece entitled Kun-Tá-Kun. The new composition was premiered at the end of the residency.
In July 2015, I taught at Cello Camp, a music camp for cello students, age 7-15. I gave two rhythm workshops for a total of 25 students, during four days. The workshops focused on developing rhythmic skills through games, rhythmic movement, singing, clapping and playing shakers and cajones. They took place at Crowden School in Berkeley.
In August 2016, I taught a rhythm workshop at Glen View Camp, a music camp for string students, age 7-15. I did a single session for 20 students focusing on developing rhythmic skills through games, rhythmic movement, clapping, and playing shakers and cajones.
In July 2017, I taught at Cello Camp again, a music camp for cello students, age 7-15. I gave three rhythm workshops for a total of 21 students, during four days. Cello Camp took place at Crowden School in Berkeley.