Since I began teaching, long time ago, I’ve always been involved in creating educational materials to illustrate and facilitate musical learning. As a result, I have written educational booklets on topics related to improvisation, Cuban and flamenco music, rhythmic development and music theory. I am a visual learner. This has led me to develop visual graphics to help explain rhythmic and melodic concepts. In addition, some of my compositions and arrangements were specifically developed as educational pieces. Some of them are accompanied by exercises, graphics and annotations pointing out and explaining the specific pedagogical content of the piece.
In particular, I have been interested in identifying Afro-Latin and flamenco musical concepts that would be valuable to musicians coming from other musical traditions. The study of these rhythmic and melodic concepts can be a great complement to western classical music education, as well as jazz music education. The Afro-Latin tradition has clear guidelines for the study of groove and polyrhythmic structures. The Cuban concept of “clave” and the flamenco concept of “compás,” are invaluable learning tools for the rhythmic development of any musician. The study of flamenco melody, which includes the flamenco Phrygian mode, offers balance to classical and jazz education, which mostly focuses on the major and minor modes.
I am currently working on a lengthy book for intermediate and advanced flutists and other melodic instrumentalists: Training Materials for the Flutist/Improviser. It aims to provide music materials and tools to develop improvisational skills within a Latin and jazz context.
I am also working on a rhythmic training booklet: Rhythm Training for All Musicians. It focuses on the study of important rhythmic concepts in Cuban, Afro-Latin and flamenco music. It is directed at all instrumentalists and aims to provide students with tools to develop rhythmic literacy.
I have written these booklets:
Integrating Latin Music Rhythmic and Melodic Concepts in the Elementary School Music Classroom, 2014, a twelve-page handout for elementary school music teachers
Our Voice and Sound Environment in the Elementary School Classroom, 2014 – I wrote this eight-page handout for elementary school teachers in collaboration with singer/educator, Martha Rodríguez-Salazar
Music Materials for the Flamenco-Latin Ensemble (61 pages), originally written in 1999 while working at the Community Music Center (CMC) in San Francsico – I produced revised and enlarged editions of this work in 1999 and 2002 (160 pages) – these materials were particularly useful during my twenty years of ensembles classes at CMC.
Study Materials for Cuban Music Ensemble (77 pages), originally written in 1991 in collaboration with Guillermo Céspedes – it became very useful for our ensemble classes in Berkeley and San Francisco and for our tours visiting music schools and conservatories in various cities in Spain working with ensembles. I produced revised editions of this work in 1993 and 1994
Creating Musical Instruments with Found Objects, 1992 (35 pages) – A handbook for school teachers with ideas, images and specific instructions for building musical instruments in the classroom. It includes pipes to create flutes, trumpets and kazoos; metal objects to create bells; various types of containers to make shakers and drums; and different ways to build simple string instruments. The hands-on process of making a musical instrument can be a wonderful way to introduce children to a wide range of musical and academic concepts.
Basic Materials for Improvising in Jazz (67 pages), written in 1989 during the time I was working at Estudio, Escola de Música, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Rhythmic Reading (34 pages), written in 1982 during the time I was working at Escuela María Anclada, Barcelona, Spain