Composition: Ph. D.
- Mujeres en la Música. 08/01/2021 - present. Position : Member.
- SGAE - Sociedad General de Autores y Editores. 02/01/2000 - present. Position : Member.
- PROMUSCAN Asociación para la promoción de la música culta de Canarias. 02/01/2000 - present. Position : Member.
I have benefitted from various methodologies as a music student, first in Spain, then Turkey, and lately in the United States. Since I was eighteen, I envisioned myself as an instructor; for that reason, I studied in Spain for two bachelor’s degrees focused on teaching: Piano Pedagogy and Music Theory Pedagogy. While studying for my bachelor's, I attended extracurricular workshops on different topics related to music pedagogy. I was exposed to theoretical and practical knowledge of the learning process for students of all ages, limits, and possibilities. In addition, I did several hours of internship at conservatories in Spain with the supervision of an advisor. During my time as a student, I not only attended classes to improve as a musician, but I also analyzed teachers, their methodologies, and the curriculum of the different schools where I studied.
My greatest takeaway from this experience as a student is that diversity in education makes students flourish. Being exposed to different points of view, cultures, languages, and methodologies have marked me as a student. I therefore try to make diversity of experience a hallmark of my own teaching. I relate the world of music to other arts, politics, literature, and science in order to encourage a breadth of perspective. One of my goals is to facilitate exchanges with institutions in different parts of the world to benefit from this experience and learn from direct exposure to a different environment.
Likewise, my experience teaching in different countries is manifested in my teaching approach. I have taught music since I was nineteen, from private lessons, music schools, and conservatories to university. I have been exposed to different class set-ups, teaching in different languages with diverse curriculums. Furthermore, I have taught various topics such as piano, voice, ear training, music theory, ensemble performance, music technology, composition, and topics related to musicology, as well as Spanish language classes.
What I took from this experience is an excellent capacity for adaptation to completely different class set-ups and topics, always keeping the focus on the students' learning process, instead of continuous delivery of information that the students will have to memorize to pass the exam. I focus on getting the students to grasp the knowledge through experiential action. This involves learning by doing, through problem-solving or analysis activities, working as a team, with the teacher providing facilitation rather than instruction.
My teaching philosophy encourages dialogue amongst students. I believe that one of the principal duties of an educator is to expose students to multiple possibilities, presenting them in a way the students can appreciate. I consider it necessary for teachers to deliver diverse cultural, ethnic, and gender perspectives. Thus, all students feel represented in the material presented; they feel motivated to interact in class as an open learning environment is generated.
I prefer to guide an analysis of the material presented through questions. I engage in activities that facilitate discussions so students can discover and learn for themselves. Finally, I design assignments where the students produce their unique content using the information they learned. This way, knowledge and experience are disseminated along multiple paths, not one-way streets. Students can add to the information discussed in classrooms and enrich it through a diversity of views.
I believe that when delivering a message, you must first show your audience you care about them so that they will be receptive to it. While the knowledge and quality of compositions should be clear and available through publications and concerts, the human factor is essential in an educator. It is necessary to dedicate hours of work to each student to ensure they receive the attention they deserve to succeed. Activities such as remaining involved in student developments, always showing interest in their activities, attending concerts, and sending reports to constructively critique their work are crucial tasks, especially when working with composition students.
I always keep in mind, mainly when working one-on-one with students, to ask questions that make students think and build confident opinions about their work. This means considering important subjects they may not have thought of otherwise. These fundamental questions make students develop and improve their work with greater maturity. To ask the right questions, the teacher needs to know the student, so the right amount of time has to be spent with them as individuals.
When it comes to student assessment, I believe it is necessary to consider, as individually as possible, each student’s progress, ability to achieve personal goals, and ability to fulfill specific tasks as outlined in the course syllabus. I deem evaluation an essential component of the student learning process. I don’t believe it should be performed only at the end of the course but from the start to take full advantage of it. On the first day of class, I provide evaluation guidelines to assess their progress weekly. Then I give them weekly feedback in the form of a grade that usually matches theirs.
Consequently, they develop great independence, as they understand they are responsible for their grade. This approach also gives students a chance to modify their performance throughout the course depending on the final grade they want to achieve. I believe this way; the students benefit from evaluation as a learning process more than a final reward or retribution that comes as a surprise.
Finally, I look forward to continuing to grow as a teacher by constantly learning from the students. I consider the student evaluations indispensable to improve my teaching. But also expect to learn new skills by attending conferences, doing research, and participating in workshops on topics related to education.