Learn languages through music…

One of the most effective ways to learn a different language is with the help of music.

My mom learned Spanish by listening to artists like Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan. She would write down the words and translate it. I can still see her in front of me with her dictionary and notebook. And when she found out what Julio was singing about she would say, he’s so sweet.....lol

Listening to the music paid off cause my mom was fluent in Spanish. Her husband and kids were at that time not so happy with “Amor, Amor” playing in the car and in the house. But guess what? Somehow I picked it up and can sing along with it. I was surprised how many Julio songs I actually know when I visited his concert with my mom a couple of years ago. Besides it did help me with my Spanish.

Stevie Wonder sings “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand”.

He is right. Music is a universal language. Despite the diversity of music influenced by countless cultures somehow the various musical structures transcend cultural differences. No matter what culture, people (mostly musicians) can read the same piece of music. Some say music is a byproduct of our language evolution. Both are forms of social bonding and besides that music helps your grammar and vocabulary. There are even teaching methods where they advise you to listen to music in the language you want to learn. You can actually learn a language faster this way, cause it helps us to remember words in a fun and creative way.

Most of the times we may not understand the lyrics of foreign songs, but we all share the same emotions when we hear similar chords and melodies. To understand music, we need to understand emotions as well. The same components that make up music which are: pitch, rhythm, and tempo, are also present in everyday speech no matter what language you're speaking. With these patterns present in spoken language, we can interpret emotions from music using the same signals.

So how does it work? This last weekend BTS was in Holland for a concert. The show sold out in less than 30 minutes. They are one of the reasons that K-Pop is up and rising. I’ve been listening to their album and the tunes are good, but what is the strength of this group? They sing in Korean and I have no clue what they’re singing about. Somehow the language doesn’t seem to be a problem at all cause they draw big and diverse crowds with their performances, sell out stadiums and have a fanbase who call themselves A.R.M.Y. and the beauty of it is that the fans can actually sing along with their songs in Korean. I admire the fact that somehow they can touch millions of people with their songs in a language that the biggest part of the western world doesn’t understand.

What makes this group successful? Is it their looks, their style, what they represent or is it the music, the lyrics? Maybe it’s the complete package? Somehow they found a way to leave a big impression in the world of music. 

I’m trying to look at it from a music point of view. What makes them unique if you take away the visual image and you just listen to the tunes?

Let me know, cause I really wanna know your thoughts.


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Now what?

It’s been awhile, I’m sorry. 🙂 I’ll try to post as often as I can.

For awhile I’ve been following various music students and graduates. I keep in touch with them to see what they’re up to and where they’re at the moment. It’s interesting and sometimes surprising to see the different paths they follow. 

What I witness a lot during my talks with students is that the ones who just started their program have this positive attitude and confidence that they’ll have a job for sure in the area that they wanna be at, while at the end of the school year they get a bit less confident and a bit more nervous. Why? Cause it doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to be. 

You graduate, you have your diploma and now what? That’s a ❓ that comes to mind and not only to those who study music. You gained all this knowledge (hopefully) during your school years and now it’s time to go out there which is not an easy thing, cause where do you start and what is it you really want? Most of the time you’ll eventually work in a place that doesn’t even match the career you had in mind. And then you ask yourself what the heck happened? Well in most cases LIFE ❗ that’s what happened. It makes you wonder if you are in control of choosing your path or has it already been drawn out for you.

Eventually it’s up to you to take the next step.

When you graduate, it’s done. The school has done their job and now you’re the one who needs to make the next move. I hear stories from students telling school doesn’t assist them after they graduate. Exactly! You know why? ....... Cause they don’t have to. If you want to get something done, make sure you do it during your school years. You paid for school to learn something. You go to school for 1, 2, 3, 4, years, maybe longer. During that time gain all the knowledge you can and ASK your teachers to advice you. Never stop asking questions. Ofcourse there are the exceptions, but keep in mind as soon as you’re out the building, you’re OUT and on your own. Some of us do ask questions and attend as much classes possible, while others tend to not do that, cause somehow we feel like we’ve got this.... Well, we don’t.

Trust me I was surprised at first when I heard about the lack of “aftercare”. Somehow we expect the school to help us further after graduation. Although the school is not obligated to do so, it would be nice if they would create some kind of service that could offers some of assistance after you leave. There are a couple of schools who do have some “aftercare”, but what they created is more of a portal where you can get in touch with former students. This could of course be useful, but in the end you’ll notice it’s up to you anyway.

My opinion is, that when schools do invest in the “aftercare” it’ll only be in their advantage. The feedback students give them will help develop the schools program even more and for the better. This way they can shape and form their information to the current state of the business and prepare the new students for what’s out there. Somehow schools don’t tend to invest much in that part, cause they think more about what they can gain financially right now, at this moment, instead of looking further into the future. Not being aware of what’s really going on. When students leave school a bit clueless, it could have a negative effect on the future of music, cause there’s always a group of students  who don’t continue their path in the world of music. I’ll be publishing interviews I had with students in Future of Music section soon and how they experienced life after graduation. Some struggled and decided to do something completely different, while others didn’t have any problems at all.

What is important to know is that you need to be prepared and don’t expect anything. That’s the most important lesson, expect nothing! This way you won’t be disappointed. Most schools don’t really teach you or tell you what happens next. They expect that now they gave you the tools (the once that they think you need), you know how to apply them. You start searching the internet and you respond to the jobs listed. In most cases they ask for people with experience, which is pretty impossible when you just finished school? The search can be a very long process with ups and downs and it takes a lot of effort, commitment, determination and persistence. There will come a point that you feel like you’ve lost all hope, but somehow something always happens. It may not have the outcome you were hoping for, but it doesn’t just stop.

There are so many factors that can influence your path but when you’re driven and focused enough, you’ll eventually find a way to get to the destination you had in mind.

I recently had a talk with someone about my path. The question WHAT IS IT YOU WANT? made me self reflect on everything. I knew what I wanted my goal to be, somehow along the way I stopped in the middle of that road, cause I lost sight of my goal. I was in my own safe-zone and why would I leave that zone? I liked the security, but what did it really add? You get so used to this zone, the chances are you become too comfortable and get stuck in that zone.

The big problem is taking that leap of faith. Some are more daring and just jump in while others are more satisfied with the safe-zone they’re in, which is also understandable, but to be honest it doesn’t really get you anywhere and it isn’t really exciting when you think about the dreams you really have.

It’s not that easy in getting that dream job in the music business. The competition is pretty high and nowadays it’s difficult getting an internship. I mean there are no record companies like back in the days and there are less studios, cause most people can record their own stuff just at home. Not to mention the possibilities within social media like YouTube. And another thing, what are the possible jobs within the music industry? Not a lot of people are aware of all the options available in this business and are too focused on the performance area. Keep in mind that to be able to perform you need other people to assist you (manager, wardrobe, producer, musicians, etc.). There are so many music related jobs, the possibilities are endless and I feel it’s important that we become aware of that, but I’ll discuss that in a future blog post.

What does come in handy is when you have “connections” in the business, but how does it work when you don’t? Start networking!! You can never start too early with that. And with networking I mean meeting people FACE to FACE.

Someone once told me if you look for your “WHY” things will fall into place.

Education is one of those basic needs in life. In order to get something done, you need to know how to do it, WHY you’re doing it and what will it take to get it done.

A diploma is not the guarantee you know it all and that you get the job you had in mind just like that. Does this means we shouldn’t even put in the effort? No on the contrary.

Stay focused, follow your heart and use all the resources you have around you to get the answer to your WHY.

It may not succeed the first time, or the 2nd or 3rd or 37th time, but eventually it will.

There are multiple paths to take and along the way you too will find your comfort in the safe-zone, from that point on it eventually is up to you to see what’s at the end of that road. But if you’re driven and committed enough you will get to the destination you had in mind, even if it means that you have to take a detour.

I want to know your experience and your thoughts. Maybe you have good advice or a complete different experience. Please share. Cause in the end we are all here to learn something.


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Being social without a phone.

In January I was visiting Berklee because Patrice would be there an entire week to teach various classes. It was the first day for me at campus and the students gathered in the Palau waiting for the presentation to start. Like always I was just sitting in the audience when suddenly this girl with a big smile came up to me and the first thing she says is: “I like your pants”. (I was wearing the Pharell G-Star pants and they do stand out, just a bit....lol) Those 4 words were the start of a special friendship. We talked more about pants and of course music. She was in Valencia for the “Master of Music in Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games” graduate program.

Pictured: Me & Karlyne Felix

Along the way I found out that everyone at campus knew who she was and vice versa. She has an honest and sincere interest in each person she meets, she talks to everyone and if you didn’t know her yet then she would make sure you would never forget her. 

At a time where people are pretty much obsessed with their phones so they can focus on social media and their network, Felix has a whole different approach. Yes she has a phone.......that doesn’t work. She can only receive stuff, but she can’t send nor call. So if there’s an emergency then we wish her good luck....lol.

But how is it possible that someone without a phone nowadays creates connections so easily? “It’s not that difficult”, she explains. “I surround myself with people who have a phone and I just ask them to use theirs to send only the quick necessary messages. By doing that I’m surrounded by people all the time”.

It’s true cause I’ve seen it and experienced it. People actually let her use their phones without hesitation and during my stay in Valencia I always got a response from her, regardless the time.

Felix is besides a very social and uplifting person also a very honest one willing to help others out when needed. The interview gives an insight on how she experienced her year at the Valencia campus. If there’s something she doesn’t agree with or doesn’t like she’ll speak up even for the people who don’t have the guts to do it themselves.

Her smile, her positive drive and the way she approaches everyone the same way makes me understand why people would lend her their phones.......and besides that she’s really good at music scoring.

Her appearance on stage during graduation was one to remember for sure. She was literally dancing her way to her diploma. Thank you Felix for letting me be part of that celebration.

Read the interview with Karlyne Felix @ The Future of Music section or just click here.



Pictured: Karlyne Felix & Patrice Rushen

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Gowns ready?....check........caps ready?.....check

The commencement ceremony is about to start. The students already got in early to prepare for their big day. After a year of hard work and dedication the time has finally come to tell the world:  I’m a Berklee Master graduate.

It’s a really hot day and i mean a really hot day in Valencia. It’s early but as you walk towards the Paula de les Arts you already see people standing there waiting. Friends and family all neatly dressed to witness their child, relative, friend, peer, get a diploma in music.

As we walk to the location you can not ignore the beauty of the Palau from the outside, once you get in it’s even better. We get in line in front of the Auditori Superior and i notice that we are surrounded by different languages, different cultures. Over 30 countries are being represented.

It’s like the world got together in one place. And you know what is it that brought them together? MUSIC.

The place looks stunning. The stage is set and people are taking their seats. In the background you hear music, after a couple of minutes i found out it was actually a real ensemble playing.


At exactly 10:00 am the students come in to take their place followed by staff, faculty and a board of trustees who take place on the stage. They are joined by honorary guest Al Di Meola and provost Larry Simpson.

On Berklee’s Facebook Page you can watch the entire ceremony.


It’s nice to witness the ceremony and see the relieved faces of the students once they receive their diplomas. Proud family members snapping pictures, proud faculty members sharing their experience and views on this last school year, proud students who became a Berklee Master graduate.


Downstairs at the Palau there’s a gathering to end not only the commencement weekend but also the school year. It’s the last time everyone gets together before flying out and follow their own paths. Who knows where it will lead to. They experienced a lot together in that single year, paths crossed and now in a way they’re separating again. When it comes to music it’s important to have a network so i believe in a way everyone will stay in touch. Some more than others.

Just like that a journey ends and another one is about to begin.

Congratulations class of 2018! Good luck and may your future be filled with MUSIC.

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La Nit de Berklee

The stage is set in the middle of La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The city of Arts & Science). The location is stunning and the weather amazing. Students are excited for this year’s edition of La Nit de Berklee which is called “Band of Travelers”. This in recognition of the diverse band of fellow travelers and the train of music they are all on at Berklee Valencia.


Before the show starts i decide to walk over to the city of arts and take a peek at all the preparations. Students are walking around, so are the teachers and tech people around the stage, they all seem excited. What i notice is that none of them look really nervous, but then again you never know what’s really going on inside of a person’s head. The stage is big accompanied by 2 big screens on either side of the stage and one big screen behind the chairs in front of the stage. By the looks of it they’re expecting a lot of people.

The 2 hour show is about to start and there are already long lines in front of the stage. If you have a ticket for the show it means there is a seat reserved for you till 9:30. After that seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Unfortunately timing is off and “doors open” around 22:00, but that can’t spoil the mood. Friends, family, music lovers are all looking forward to Berklee’s big night.

The show opens with an animated feature. A short film about love (what else) had some people questioning. What does this have to do with Berklee? Only to realize later on that the music in the film was created by the students. It shows again how important music is to visualization and how it can add more emotion and give a story more strength on the big screen.

María Martínez Iturriaga is the beautiful lady in red who’s taking the stage next. She is the Executive Director for Berklee College of Music in Valencia. I’ve known her since Berklee launched the Valencia school 5 years ago. Later this week i’ll be doing an interview with her and you can read all about it on this blog. (story will follow soon)



The audience is being welcomed on this special night. It’s also the celebration of the 20 year existence of the gorgeous Hemisfèric. (the first building to open their gates for the public in La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). On screens we get an extra welcome from the international students (in their own language) who are attending Berklee. 34 countries are represented. Followed by the first performance on stage.

Each performance show students who are driven and determined to show the audience what they are capable off. Some are more confident than others, but we need to understand it’s a learning experience. The past year they’ve been working hard to get closer to their dreams and tonight is one of those nights they can share their passion with basically the world (since there’s a livestream on Facebook of the event).

The show not only has the focus on the stage performers but also demonstrates how important music and sound are by showing pieces of film accompanied by music scores done by students.

In between the performances clips are being shown where students talk about their background and the Berklee experience. It proofs again that this place has become an international hub for music and is still growing.

At the end of the first set we get treated on a performance by legendary guitarist Al Di Meola. He’s the guest on Berklee campus this week. Not only will he perform tonight but on Monday he will receive an honorary doctorate from Berklee.

During the 20 minute intermission the DJ-ing students are showing their skills. The 2nd half of the concert continues to be a diverse presentation of music, film, talent, performance and the Berklee experience. The international influence is noticeable on all of the acts which makes the show enjoyable for everyone. If you like reggae, Latin, rock, pop, jazz.......all ingredients are being presented.


The show ends with a performance by the students accompanied by Jove Banda Simfonica de la Federation de Societats Musicals de la Comunitat Valenciana.


La Nit de Berklee is a 2 hour summary of all the talent that has been developed in this one year program. It’s entertaining, enjoyable and gives you a little insight on what is really happening throughout the year in this modern futuristic building located in Las Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. So how was the quality of the performance? It was not perfect, but that’s normal. A lot of these students just started out in the world of music, so you can not expect them to be flawless. They are studying and practicing to become better. It needs time, dedication, patience and the willingness to learn and listen to what others have to say. You could tell however they were having fun doing this. Nothing but enhusiastic and smiling faces on stage performing to the best of their ability.

This was the first time I got to experience La Nit de Berklee and i’m looking forward to what the next generation of music industry people will offer next year.

Buena nit guapos!


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