Enthusiasm and food

Hola guapos!

I’m back in Holland, and didn’t have time to post during the rest of my stay in Valencia.

A lot has happened. My dad visited which was nice. Patrice texted me and asked if she could tag along to pick him up from the airport. On purpose I didn’t tell him that she was going to be at the airport. When we arrived he was already waiting. The look on his face when he saw us was priceless. Well let me correct that....when he saw Patrice.

We had dinner that night at El Bar and like always there were Berklee people present. If you need someone from Berklee, just go to El Bar. There’s a 90% chance that atleast Magda (she’s the new Director of Music in Contemporary Performance) will be there for sure....lol

The day before Patrice was asked to function as a mentor in Contemporary Performance (production concentration) for the Berklee Outstanding Women Scholarship. I got a feeling a lot of students are going to apply.

While Patrice had a meeting, I went back to Xabia with my dad to “visit” mom and just spend some time there. The storm left a path of destruction. The boulevard was damaged and stores and restaurants were busy cleaning up and restoring everything. We had lunch at Cafe Wien and took a nice walk on the beach. On our way back to Valencia we did some shopping at the La Marina mall. If you ever get the chance to visit make sure you drop by Lefties. You won’t regret it. I mean, the pants and sweater i’m wearing right now, are cheaper than my socks. So if you want a good deal go check it out.

That night we had a very nice dinner at La Principal Restaurante with Victor Mendoza. Besides a dedicated teacher he’s one of the nicest people around. Just hearing him and Patrice talk about their lives in the music industry is fascinating. The knowledge and experience is pretty incredible. Their passion and dedication to educate others about music with so much love is rare. We need more teachers like them.

The food was excellent, but once outside it was like standing in the shower. That day was one of the rainiest ever, cause the storm was raging throughout the area and managed to demolish 2 umbrellas Patrice borrowed from the hotel. Wind was so strong it could easily knock you over.

The Contemporary Performance Forum given by Magda was scheduled the next morning in Sala E. When we got there we couldn’t enter yet cause the students were preparing a surprise for Patrice. Once Patrice set foot in the room, the students started to play “Remind Me”. Each one of them doing their best to impress the writer and composer of the song. Magda had the biggest smile ever. That’s one thing you can definitely say about Magda, she’s so full of enthusiasm, it rubs of on you. Teaching is new to her, but she’s so eager to learn and has the need to make sure she passes the knowledge on the right way. It’ll take time, but eventually she’ll get there.

Liz who’s the director of academic technology and profesor at Berklee met up with us at Mercado Colon. There’s this sushi place called Momiji we visited last year and somehow it became our “place” to hangout and have dinner. We talked about....music...lol. And a lot of other stuff. One of the topics  was the growth of Berklee Valencia in the 7 years of it’s existence. It started out very small and right now they have 375 students. The group of students seems to grow each year, but there there’s not enough space to accommodate each teacher, class or student. It’s hard work and change is necessary, but in the end it’ll workout.

Suddenly Patrice looks up and who’s sitting at the bar?........Magda. She’s like the cartoon dog Droopy, I mean she keeps popping up everywhere...lol. As always so full of energy and enthusiasm. She sat with us the rest of the evening.

When you enjoy the company and the food and you manage to close the place down cause it’s time for everyone to go home, your know you had a good time.

To be continued..........




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Maybe I feel better

Code Red! Yup the weather on the east coast of Spain is going to be terrible. It’s actually weather to stay inside and chill.

Yesterday me and Patrice took a drive to Xàbia. On our way there we talked about everything that’s going on in the world of music education. It seems that the focus isn’t on the music anymore, so it’s code red in that area as well. There are ways to fix it, but it’s going to take a lot to change it.

Our first stop was Cala Blanca. Being there always calms me down and it’s just nice to visit. Just the feeling that my mom is near, the sound of the water and the amazing view, really does clear your mind. Lately I haven’t been feeling all that great and this visit helped a lot.

We had a paella dinner at Cala Bandida and talked about life. It’s funny that when you advice someone it seems like you know it all, but when you have to apply it to yourself it’s a whole different story. I know for myself that it’s time to do things differently. While I’m here I’ll do my best to get it all sorted out. It’s time to find out what my WHY really is. In the end it’ll be just fine. After dinner we took a walk at playa Arenal and then we dropped by La Marina to get some some groceries and check out some stores. They really have nice stores.

Back at the hotel I had a nice chat with my friend about my current work environment. I don’t hate my job, but i’m starting to dislike it more and more. The surroundings, the people, the way everything goes, it’s just not working. It is scary to take that leap of faith, but sometimes you just have to, to make that change. I have enough stuff to think about, but I’m pretty sure what my next move will be. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Right now i’m just going to chill and watch a movie!

Hasta luego guapos!



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The showcase

Yesterday I didn’t have time to blog, cause it was a pretty long day. In the afternoon there was a workshop called: “Advancing your career as a teacher”. The class was given by Camille Colatosti and Patrice Rushen. Camille used to work at Berklee, she’s actually one of the people behind the existence of Berklee Valencia. Each time I take part of her class it always leaves me with so much useful information. At the moment Camille servers as a Provost at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

At night during dinner me and Patrice had a recap about the day. I once told her sister that I see
Patrice as my own personal Yoda..lol. The talks are always interesting and somehow she always finds a way to inspire me. Just like this time. She gave me a lot of stuff to consider. I don’t want to write about it just right now, but I promise I will.

After the dinner we walked to the Berklee Showcase that was held at Sala Jerusalem. I must say it’s a very nice venue.

The students performed and at the end Patrice led the jamsession. It was a lot of fun to see the response of the audience. Also present was Cristina Abaroa and her sister. She’s part of the Latin Recording Academy as a musical producer. A very sweet lady with a lot of enthusiasm and love for music. The day before I met her son, who tours with Luis Miguel.

I finally arrived back late in my room and was too tired to blog, so sorry for that.

Right now it’s late as well, but I just got home from a nice gathering at the home of one of the Berklee faculty members. Award winning engineer Pablo Munguia. He has a very nice apartment in the center of Valencia and I finally got to see an Emmy award in real life. I mean he has 7 of those statues showing in his home. We were joined by other faculty members and guests. Among them was Susan Rogers. She’s best known for her work as a producer, engineer and mixer for Prince. She knows music for sure. Pablo and his wife prepared a nice meal and we had various nice conversations about different subjects. It’s nice to be part of the Berklee family.

In the afternoon we had the recording session. I only joined in the morning cause in the afternoon I went to the beach to clear my head. The session went really well and I must say compared to the previous years, this song ain’t that bad at all.

Tomorrow there’s no school, so time for other stuff. I’ll blog about that tomorrow!

Thank you to Pablo & his beautiful family, Maria, Liz, Magda, Victor, Lucio, Patrice, Susan, Camille, Chrissy and Jeanine! Buena Nit guapos!




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You’re already part of it.

I’m sleepy, but I need to write this down before I forget. After the pre-recording session yesterday we had dinner at Comer, Beber, Amar with a couple of the Berklee guests. One of them being Ever Mihigo, who’s a producer and performer, but also has his own label and studio in Paris. We met him before during lunch and we had a nice conversation about the music industry. The highlight of the evening was at the end of the dinner when Ever decided to google Patrice and her music. The reaction on his face when he heard the first  notes of “Forget Me Nots” was priceless. He really had no idea at all, who he was talking to the entire day. We laughed a lot.

This morning Patrice did a Masterclass: “The Story Behind Men in Black”. She described the process of how the song got used for the movie and all the aspects you need to think about to make sure the other party won’t screw you over. It’s pretty amazing that you’re able to release a song that is not only still being played, but also is still being used as a sample. After all those years, the $ is still coming in and if that’s the case it means you wrote a pretty damn good song.

As always we end the day with food, so we sat down in this very nice Italian restaurant called “Al Solito Posto”. Make sure to check it out if you’re ever in the neighborhood. We had a recap of the day and had a conversation about improving music education, future projects and shared various ideas regarding music. The To-Do-List is a pretty long one at the moment, so it’s important to have clear what the priority is. Eventually we’ll get there, so no worries.

We’ve been going to Berklee Valencia each year for 7 years now. I remember the first time I set foot on the Berklee Valencia Campus, cause I wanted to apply and be part of the Berklee experience so bad. Looking back I realize that eventhough I’ve never been an official Berklee student, I actually am the only student who’s there each year. So in a way I did achieve what I wanted, cause I attend classes, I know the faculty and they know me, I know the students, I meet new people everytime I visit, the network is growing and each year I learn so much just by being there. Maria once said to me: “You are part of the Berklee family”. To be honest it does feel like that.

The same goes for my dream to be part of the music industry. Guess what? I already am part of it and didn’t even realize it. Sometimes you really need to take a minute, look back and connect the dots, that’s when you suddenly notice, that it actually did fall into place.

Ok guapos, it’s bedtime. See you tomorrow!



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Be prepared

Today was the 2nd day of the Global Career Summit at Berklee. This time the event is being held at the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. Very nice location and enough room to harbor all the students.

After the welcome and introduction from the Executive Director Maria M. Itturiaga (more about her in the portraits section), it was time for Patrice to hit the stage to do her Keynote: Identify your why.

Before she started talking she played on the keyboard to share her talent. It’s always nice to see and hear the reaction from the audience when they become aware of her work and all that she has experienced.

During her talk she pointed out that your WHY is your believe and the most important question you have for yourself. Your WHAT is the plan. The HOW is the execution of that plan. If you know how to answer all 3, you’re going the right direction.

Last year Patrice did a presentation at Loop (Ableton). Check it out here so you’ll get an idea of the Keynote she gave. 

After her talk there were 2 more panels I attended. One was about “Jumping Into The Industry With Intent” and the other was a masterclass about “Getting picked”.

As always we had lunch at El Bar with all the guests from that morning, which gives you a nice opportunity to network.

On Friday there’s a Recording Session in the studio. It’s an interesting process that shows you what steps are needed to actually record a song. In order to do that the students pick the song, cause that didn’t happen yet. In the afternoon we had the pre-recording session and the intent was to pick one song out of 4 that were already pre-selected by 2 faculty members.

After listening to all 4 songs, the students voted for their favorite one. To be prepared for the recording, the conversation that followed was focused on groove, form, instruments, lyrics, musicians to play on the session, production, and so on.

I’m very curious what the result will be on Friday.

What suprised me is that eventhough they’re all master students, a lot of information they were hearing today was new to them. It proofs again that basic music knowledge is so important to take the right steps. 

Right now i’m too tired to write about all the other stuff I encountered, cause I had a very long and interesting talk with Patrice this evening. More about that tomorrow.

Hasta luego guapos!



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Back at the campus

Today was an interesting day. In the morning I walked to the hotel across the street to meet up with my cousins. Well I met one cause the other one was still sleeping. It was nice to hang for awhile and talk about all the things they did during their stay. I’m happy they enjoyed it.

In the afternoon I went back to pick up Patrice for the Masterclass she was going to give at Berklee. Around that same time my cousins were leaving so it was nice to see them again........and yes the other one was awake now...lol. While waiting outside a butterfly was trying to get our attention. (we know..;o))

It was a nice encounter cause Patrice got to meet them too.

The weather here has been pretty damn nice. It was 21°C today, so no reason to complain at all.

The gathering was held in the library of the Berklee campus and meant for the faculty members. 

It was interesting to see how the information given was received. Patrice highlighted a lot of important aspects of teaching and guiding students. It’s so important as a teacher to know what the endgame is. You need to keep in mind what the goal is and how are you going to get there.

A reoccurring factor is sense of community. If you study music it’s important not only for the students, but also for the teachers to form a community, to help eachother and share knowledge. It’s one of the key things to make a music education program a success. 

Tomorrow morning Patrice will start her Keynote: “Identify your why”. It’s about the importance of effective action by linking your passion with a practical approach towards your career.

It’ll be an interesting session for sure.

It’s been a pretty long day and I met a lot of new people. It’s also good to see the familiar faces again, like Maria, Victor, Max and all of the other Berklee family members. They’ve always welcomed me with open arms, so it’s really nice to be back.

More stories will be posted  tomorrow! For now I say to all of you:  Hasta mañana guapos! Buena Nit!


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Last year was one of the best adventures I’ve experienced.....so I thought. It’s amazing how you can go from your highest high to your lowest low just like that. The last part of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 it’s been one big chaotic mess in my head. (I will blog about my 2019 adventures soon)

Today as the plane landed in Valencia I felt calm again. Strange how that works, scary too cause what’ll happen when I go back. Those are things to think about later.....or maybe not 

Right now it’s all good. The plane wasn’t full on my way here. Actually my entire row was empty.
Not a bad start at all. I also got a free upgrade on my rental car, so now I’m driving a brand new Hyundai. If you ever need a car when you’re in Spain do consider Drivalia. Good price, good service and nice people.

I drove to the Quatre Carreres area which is my favorite part of town and finally checked into my crib. I’ve been staying at this place every time I go to Valencia which is every year and sometimes multiple times a year....Valencia Flats / Rooms Ciencias. Make sure to take note. Great modern and clean rooms, good price, great location, nice personnel and good food at the neighbors place “El Bar”.

Patrice is staying at a hotel across the street and a couple of days ago I found out that so are 2 of my cousins. They have soccer camp and unfortunately leaving tomorrow already. Before they go back home I’m going to meet up with them in the morning.

Tomorrow it’s also day 1 of the Berklee experience. Patrice will start her Masterclass in the afternoon. 

Will be continued tomorrow. For now Buena Nit!



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Hola Valencia!

Yes it has been quiet on this blog and the main reason is that my focus was on other stuff. Yet I know I should be more loyal to blogging. I guess right now is a good time to start posting again.

In a couple of hours I’ll arrive in Valencia to meet up with Patrice Rushen. Ever since the existence of Berklee Valencia we meet up every year in this great city. We talk a lot.....and ofcourse it’s not a punishment to eat paella and tapas.

Besides enjoying the company and the city, every visit has been a learning experience for me. Not only do I learn a lot by talking, observing and listening to Patrice and the people at Berklee, but also cause every year Berklee creates an event for all music students so they can take the next step to create their future career.

This year the Global Career Summit will be held from 14 -16th of january. It’s going to be an interesting gathering when you look at the list of guest-speakers and attendees.

I’m also very interested how Berklee is doing at the moment, after visiting them last year. A lot of new faces for sure.

Right now i’m sitting at the dinning room table looking outside at a rainy backyard. In a couple of hours I’ll be in a completely  different environment. Hope it’ll be a sunny stay.

These upcoming days I’ll post about my adventures and all the things I’ve experienced last year when I wasn’t focused on blogging.



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