1094-2014 Teaching at the Community Music Center (CMC)

1994-2014 Latin-Flamenco Ensemble (Potingue) / Latin-Flamenco Rhythm Workshop
2006-12 Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP)
2002-14 Camp CMC
2014 Discovery Camp
2009-11 Willard Latin Ensemble
2005-12 Horace Mann After-School Music Program

 

1994-2014 Latin-Flamenco Ensemble (Potingue) / Latin-Flamenco Rhythm Workshop

I began teaching at CMC in the summer of 1994 as a California Arts Council Artist in Residence offering a free Latin-Flamenco-Jazz Ensemble workshop. 26 adult musicians participated, a wide range of instrumentalists of various levels.

 

After this initial, very successful, free summer course, I began offering a two-hour weekly Latin-Flamenco Ensemble class as a regular CMC program. It started with some ups and downs but by 1997 it had consolidated into a stable program with a core group of regular and committed students. In 1999, a second weekly class, one-hour long, was added for advanced students, which in 2002 was expanded to two hours.  The “Latin-Flamenco Ensemble I” class took place every Wednesday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM; the “Latin-Flamenco Ensemble II” immediately after, from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. This setup continued the same for the following twelve years, until 2014. The “Latin-Flamenco Ensemble I” was a more general class for intermediate and advanced musicians with or without previous knowledge of Latin or flamenco music. It had an emphasis on the study of “compás,” the flamenco rhythmic flow, and “clave,” the key rhythmic concept in the Cuban polyrhythmic ensemble. Topics of study included improvisation, “groove” development, and the study of musical styles such as son, danzón, bolero, cha-cha-chá and flamenco bulerías, tangos, alegrías and rumba. Later in 2006, this class was called the “Latin-Flamenco Rhythm Workshop”, although the content didn’t change much. The “Latin-Flamenco Ensemble II” was a class for advanced musicians who had some familiarity with flamenco or Latin music. It focused on acquiring the necessary skills to be part of an ensemble ready for public performances. Its goal was to execute advanced arrangements of traditional pieces and new compositions rooted in traditional styles. This ensemble performed under the name Potingue. At least three performances were presented each year at CMC and other performances took place at cultural centers, senior centers, and other venues (La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, Ruth’s Table Community Center, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Mission Neighborhood Center, etc.). Potingue developed a loyal audience who enjoyed the unique mixture of Latin, flamenco and Latin-jazz musical styles that the ensemble played. Potingue’s concerts often included professional guest artists that raised the level of the performance and motivated students to do their best.

 

In the course of twenty years, around 200 adult musicians passed through these ensemble classes. Musicians of a wide range of levels participated, from intermediate students to professionals; among them there were many CMC faculty members. Some students stayed for a few quarters, some stayed for a few years. After leaving my classes, a good number of them continued getting deeper into the study of Latin music and were able to become part of the professional SF Bay Area Latin music scene.

 

 

2006-12 Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP)

The Mission District Young Musicians Program is a tuition-free program that gives access to high quality music education to middle and high school students with a commitment to music learning. It has a focus on Latin music, which makes the program particularly relevant to the Latino community in San Francisco.

 

I was involved in this program since its incubation period in 2006. I was instrumental in its creation and design and I was the musical director and one of the group class teachers until 2012.

 

About the MDYMP: The goal of the program is to enrich with meaningful musical experiences the lives of low-income Mission District youth. Administered by the Community Music Center, in collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District and the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, the MDYMP accepts applicants from 7th and 8th grades, and high school. The program is directed particularly, although not exclusively, to the Latino community in the Mission District. It has a capacity for 25 students. Every participant receives a two-hour weekly group class and a half-hour weekly private lesson with an instructor specialist in his/her instrument, including voice. Group classes take place at the Mission Cultural Center for the Latino Arts on Saturdays from 10am to noon. Private lessons take place at Community Music Center locations. The MDYMP curriculum focuses on Latin music, both popular and classical. The repertoire includes traditional music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and other Latin American countries, as well as Latin jazz and classical music. Concerts in December and in the spring serve as culminating events and help to provide concrete repertoire goals for the program.

 

The MDYMP group class faculty team is composed of three teachers and two teacher assistants who work with 25 students during the weekly two-hour group classes. I collaborated with the other faculty members in formulating curricular goals and planning educational activities. I develop teaching materials and musical arrangements appropriate for the students, including full musical plays such us La Posarela and Persephone. See more about the MDYMP in the section dedicated to my work as CMC Program Director.

 

 

2002-14 Camp CMC

In 2002, I began designing and planning a music ensemble summer camp for children. It materialized for the first time in 2003 as Camp CMC. I was its director and one of the teachers for twelve years, until 2014.

 

About Camp CMC: A weeklong summer camp, it offers children 9-15 years old the chance to play with other young musicians and develop ensemble skills. Activities alternate between chamber group, ensemble, theory and musicianship classes. After an audition, students are grouped in ensembles by instrument and level. Campers also participate in activities designed to develop general musicianship skills, such as playing percussion instruments, singing, and rhythmic movement. Camp CMC is designed for 25 students and a team of four teachers and two teacher assistants. This low teacher/student ratio allows for close individual attention and small chamber groups. Students are exposed to a wide range of musical styles, from classical to Latin or jazz. Musical arrangements are specifically written to fit the level of the students. Camp CMC players share their work at the end of the week in a performance.

 

 

2014 Discovery Camp

In 2014, I designed a new camp for CMC, Musical Discovery Camp. Since Camp CMC only accepts children who already play an instrument for at least two years, this new camp doesn’t require participants to have any previous musical experience. Also a week-long, Musical Discovery Camp introduces children to music, musical instruments and music making. Activities include singing, rhythm work, ensemble playing and games that familiarize children with music theory. The camp is designed for 25 students and a team of two teachers and one teacher assistant. The week ends with a public performance for families and friends. I directed Musical Discovery Camp and was one of the teachers in 2014.

 

Both CMC Camp and Musical Discovery Camp continue to thrive at CMC to this day.

 

 

 

2009-11 Willard Latin Ensemble

The Latin Music Ensemble at Willard was a collaboration project between Community Music Center, La Peña Cultural Center and Willard Middle-School in Berkeley. The program was funded by the California Arts Council and the Visual and Performing Arts Program from the Berkeley Unified School District.

 

I designed and taught this class for middle-schoolers from 2009 to 2011. I engaged volunteer musicians to enhance the program and, at times when funds allowed it, I received support from a coordinator who helped facilitate communication with families, the school and other stakeholders.

 

The program was free and open to students with musical interest for Latin music and minimal musical background. All instruments and voice were welcome. Students received a two-hour weekly group class at Willard Middle School. They played in an ensemble and participate in various activities designed to develop general musicianship skills (playing percussion instruments, singing, rhythmic movement and listening to music). The curriculum focuses on Latin music, including Salsa, flamenco and music from Cuban, Peru and Mexico. There was a public performance at the end of every quarter. The number of students fluctuated between 8 and 12.

 

 

2005-12 Horace Mann After-School Music Program

For seven years I run a music after-school program at Horace Mann Middle School. In addition to do administrative, planning and coordination work, I often taught classes. See more about this program in the page dedicated to my work as Program Director at the Community Music Center.

 

 

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