MDC Kendall Campus Music Teacher Spurs Young Students’ Success
Miami, May 5, 2011 - Led by the talent and dedication of Professor Juan Carlos Vera, veteran guitar instructor at Miami Dade College’s School of Community Education at Kendall Campus, two of the college’s youngest student musicians have been invited twice to perform guitar solos with the South Florida Youth Symphony (SFYS). This year, he celebrates 21 years at MDC.
“Juan Carlos Vera is a very fine teacher who is passionate about everything he does and his students are by products of that,” said Rodester Brandon, chair of the Music, Theater and Dance Department at the Kendall Campus.
Most recently, 13-year-old Kevin Huang and 15-year-old Christian Monteverde, who have been taking classes with Prof. Vera for the past two years, were selected to play the Concierto de Aranjuez the SFYS, led by Marjorie Hahn.
Huang is scheduled to perform the second movement of the piece during the symphony’s upcoming concert on Saturday, May 7. He’ll be accompanied by MDC Faculty pianist Virginia Covarrubias. Monteverde is will perform the entire work later this year, accompanied by the symphony.
The work, composed by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, is notoriously difficult, requiring virtuosic displays of technique and musicianship.
“This upcoming performance illustrates the point that a career in music has to be built by a long list of impressive accomplishments in the real world not just by playing very well. Both Chris and Kevin are already veterans in this sense. In spite of their young age, these two kids rank among the top classic guitar students we've ever had at MDC. When students sign up for guitar lessons at Community Education, the sky is the limit,” Vera said.
Built on the premise that pre-high school students could be trained to achieve professional standards, Prof. Vera gradually developed a pedagogical method based on mastery of fundamental techniques, variations of standard repertoire, and early confidence building measures. This pioneering work has positioned MDC’s Community Education classical guitar program as a national leader in guitar training.
An MDC alumnus, Prof. Vera was recruited by his former teacher and mentor, MDC Professor Jose Adan. He later studied with Bruce Holzman, regarded by many as America’s leading guitar pedagogue.
These two students aptly embody Prof. Vera’s unique teaching approach. Monteverde began playing classic guitar at age nine. At 12, he made his television debut, appearing on Cable Tap’s MD Connected. His performance included Francisco Tarrega’s legendary composition Recuerdosde la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra), a work of considerable difficulty. He also performed additional televised recordings on Art Attacks, a locally produced cable series showcasing emerging artists.
Inspired by his father’s love of guitar, Huang picked up his first at age ten. Just a year later, he was playing Agustin Barrios’ “La Ultima Canción” (“The Last Song”) at the MDC TV studios. Huang will play as guest artist at the end-of-term student recital at MDC’s Kendall Campus in collaboration with the talented Maria Borges at the piano.
To learn more about the Kendall Campus’ music programs, please call 305-237-2282, or visit www.mdc.edu/kendall/mtd.
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