What is the most important element in the study of Cuban music? Theory or practice?
Although both are important, many of the greatest instrumentalists of the Island were self-educated. Without despise the musical educational system, geniuses of the size of Mongo Santamaria learned Afro-Cuban percussion in the bembés of the solares. This is not a backlog of the past, just to make a point we could remember Noel Nicola or Jorgito Kamankola. They did not receive an instruction in a conservatory neither in no school of art. They, like a lot of Cubans, already had rhythm in their blood.
Other ones as big as José Luis Cortés, Arturo Sandoval or Chucho Valdés are school musicians and received a thorough education in the theoretical aspects. Although it is true that talent is mandatory to be a good instrumentalist, the theoretic formation strengthens and potency the musical capacity.
A trade-off in the study of music Cuban
The great dilemma of the study of Cuban music is the duration of the courses. Nobody denies that a six-month course or more, that is the standard of the academies and conservatories in Cuba, results in a solid base for the understanding and execution of the rhythms of the Island.
These courses include, in addition to the practice of the instrument, elements of sol-fa, harmony, musical appreciation, history of music and other theoretic elements.
But, many times, who desires and comes to Cuban in order to study Cuban music cannot arrange as much time driven away of his family, his work and his responsibilities. Furthermore, there are levels and levels: an amateur that has learned how to play in a self-educated way may not wish to spend time in an academic deep instruction, but simply to receive the necessary practical elements to play Cuban music.
In the same way, a professional musician already knows the theoretic aspects because he received them elsewhere: what he lacks is the practical ability and the knowledge to sound like if he was born in the largest of the West Indies.
Havana Music School: Balancing the load
To this type of student is driven the Havana Music School’s work. As a new type of school for musical instruction, we adapt ourselves in a personalised way to our students’ requests, and help them to achieve their purposes.
We are eminently orientated toward the practice of the instruments and the fast learning of the Cuban´s way of playing. In addition to little theoretic essential elements to play, our staff includes a group of well-known professors that, if asked by the student, can also deepen in the theoretical issues that surround the study of Cuban music.
Nevertheless, what as the student was not treated in classes, can be checked after. Through the tutorials and our blog of history and biographies of Cuban music, both available in the portal of Havana Music School, is possible to get soaked in all the characteristics that makes Cubans musicians some of the most well-known in the international scene.
Located in Paradero 124 in the Cerro, Havana Music School combines of effective way your time with your interests, as much from the theoretical point of sight as the practice.