Teaching in Spain

I develop an interest in music education in my mid-twenties. In 1982 I began teaching privately and in two music schools in Barcelona, Spain (Facultad Musical del Vallés and Academia María Anglada). I taught flute, alto sax, rhythmic reading and music theory.


I lived in San Francisco for the first time from 1984 to 1987. During that period I obtained a B.A. in “Music Education and Jazz Improvisational Studies” from Antioch University – San Francisco. I was fortunate to have the legendary jazz arranger and bass player, Chuck Israels, as my “personal adviser.”


After my return to Spain, I lived for a year (1987-88) in Andalucía (southern Spain), alternating between Granada and Marbella. In Marbella I taught at the Universidad Popular. I was an instructor in the Music Department of this community education center. I taught classes on ensemble and rhythm development to teenagers. In Granada I taught adult students privately.


The following year (1988-89), I was offered a position at “Estudio, Escola de Música,” a newly established music school in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain. There, I taught classes on flute, jazz ensemble and improvisation techniques to mostly adult intermediate and advanced students. I also developed instructional materials for the school, including a booklet on jazz improvisation. In addition, I organized concerts and events for the school such as an intensive one-week jazz seminar with bassist and arranger, Chuck Israels, and singer, Margot Hanson.


During that year, I also organized and directed a one-week intensive jazz seminar in my hometown, Zamora (March 1989). I assembled a team of six musicians/teachers and coordinated the educational materials to cover. The seminar attracted many advance and professional musicians form the area and finished with a successful concert in the beautiful “Teatro Principal”. It was the first jazz seminar that had ever happened in Zamora.


In 1989 I moved to San Francisco for the second time. The SF Bay Area has been my permanent residence since then but I have traveled many times back to Spain to play and teach.


In September 1990, I taught an intensive week-long workshop on jazz theory and improvisation for adult intermediate and advance adult students (wind instruments, guitar and keyboards) at “Estudio, Escola de Música” in Santiago de Compostela.


In February 1992, I organized a four-week tour with Cuban musician Guillermo Céspedes, playing and teaching Cuban music to professional and advanced musicians. I had been working with Céspedes for a couple of years on the creation of educational materials for the teaching of Cuban music. We put those materials to work in this tour. We taught and played in Barcelona (Taller de Músics), Marbella (Universidad Popular) and Santiago de Compostela (Estudio, Escola de Música). In addition, I visited my hometown (Zamora) and did a workshop with 20 musicians. In total we reach more than one hundred musicians.


The February 1992 tour was so successful that we return to Spain for a second tour a few months later, in October. This time, in addition to Guillermo Céspedes, the Puerto Rican percussionist, Hector Lugo, joined the team. We again went to Marbella (Universidad Popular), Santiago de Compostela (Estudio, Escola de Música), Barcelona (Taller de Músics), and Zamora (Consorcio de Fomento Musical). In each place we did a one-week intensive seminar and a public concert at the end.


In 1993, in Santiago de Compostela, during the entire month of August, I organized ongoing workshops, five days a week, to provide free and open music classes to children nine and older. This project was sponsored by the City of Santiago de Compostela, which that year celebrated the “Año Santo Jacobeo” with special activities for children and families. I assembled a team of five music teachers from the area. The music activities were divided in two simultaneous workshops, one dedicated to making musical instruments with found objects and the other to introduce children to various instruments and to play in an ensemble.


In September 1993, I taught an intensive one-week music course for Elementary School Teachers in the University of Badajoz.


In February-March 1994, I organized another four-week tour throughout Spain giving seminars and concerts on Cuban music. This time it was a quartet, “Aidavú”. In addition to Guillermo Céspedes and me, the group included singer, Lichi Fuentes, and bassist, Steve Sent-Herrera. We gave seminars at the Conservatory of Badajoz, at “Estudio, Escola de Música” in Santiago de Compostela, and at the “Taller de Músics” in Barcelona. We played concerts at “Teatro Ayala” in Badajoz, “Cueva del Jazz” in Zamora, “Entremientras” in León, “Bellas Artes” in Ponferrada, “Casa Blanca” in Valdoviño, “Clavicémbalo” in Lugo, “Tamboura” in Santiago de Compostela, “El Malecón” in Vigo, and “Jazz sí” in Barcelona.


In September/October 2001, I traveled to Spain with six musicians, “Sexteto de la Moderna Tradición”, a small version of “Orquesta de la Moderna Tradición.” We gave seminars on Cuban music with an emphasis on the “Cuban charanga and its syles: danzón, chachachá, son and son montuno.” Seminars took place in Boiro (Galicia) and again in the “Taller de Músics” in Barcelona. We also performed in several venues in Barcelona (“Antilla”, “Obatalá-Festival Internacional de Ritmos Afrolatinos de Cataluña” and “Jazz Sí”), in Tiedra (a small village in the province of Valladolid where my family comes from), in Zamora (“Teatro Principal”), in Santiago de Compostela (“Fonte Sequelo”), and in Boiro (“El Guajiro”).




Back to Work as Educator