I've been a professional musician/educator for over 15 + years. I am an multi- instrumentalist which is a great benefit when studying with me. I bring to the table a broad world view and different perspectives of music pedagogy that I have been fortunate to attain throughout my music career and education. There is more than one way to attain a musical goal and I always work on giving different ways to attain such goals until one connects with student. I am a "real world" application type of teacher. I will not stray to musical processes that tend to hold people back from making music.
Willie is a multi-instrumentalist, educator and clinician home based in San Jose Bay Area. He specializes in Afro-Latin percussion while exploring other sounds of Arabic, Flamenco, Brazilian and Vocal- Percussion. Willie has a unique and creative approach, inter- locking world music concepts with styles of contemporary music that include Rock, R&B, Hip- Hop, Funk and Jazz. Willie’s appreciation for cultures and music throughout the world influence and compel a creativity that makes Willie part of a new breed of percussionists in the music scene today.
Willie has performed and recorded with international artists and several local artists and groups in California bay area such as, favored nations recording artist James Robinson, Charangon Nueve, The Saul Kaye Band, Kaweh, Latin Lingo, Marc Russo and the Classy Cats, Full Spectrum, Mambo Tropical, Caixa, Silicon Vibe, Fito Reinoso, Piano y Son, San Jose State Latin Jazz Ensemble, KIDGUCH, BukleBros, Audio Dub, Latin Funk Express, White Roses, JT Horns.
Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to work with and perform with artists and groups such as; Trombonist, Conrad Herwig, Hal Galper Quintet, Vibraphonist and Marimba Master, Dave Samuels, Composer/Pianist, Eugenio Toussaint, Trombonist/Composer, Rob McConnel, Saxophonist, Richie Cole, Latin-percussionist/Composer, Pete Escovedo, Gabriel Espinosa y su grupo Ashanti, Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz, Saxophonist/Composer, Benny Golsen. Maja with musicians, Mylious Johnson, on Drums, Alex Alessandroni and Jason Chapman on Keyboards, Asa ‘ACE’ Livingston on Bass.
Willie was born and raised in San Jose, California. In the younger years of his life, music was always around him in some sort of way. At the age of ten, Willie was introduced to the trumpet. When learning music through playing trumpet, he felt something deep inside and knew it was his destiny to play music for the rest of his life.
In high school, music was his main focus. During this time of his life, he was forming his music foundation. Focusing on trumpet primarily, until one day his band director said something that changed his path in music. He said, “The more music you get yourself involved in, the better musician you’ll become.” After that, Willie started to sing in concert choir. Eventually, he was able to get into the Mt. Pleasant Studio Jazz Singers, a group that had a national reputation winning approximately thirteen National Down Beat music awards at that time. The group was under the direction of Jan DeShera. Being fortunate to be part of winning two National Down Beat Awards for Vocal Jazz Performance. The group performed at the 1st Annual Monterey Jazz Festival at Sea Cruise, Ensanada, Mexico. In addition, performed on the main stage at Monterey Jazz Festival. Other performances included; Pacific Basin Music Festival, Honolulu, Hawaii, International Association of Jazz Educators (I.A.J.E.) convention, Anaheim, California, and San Jose Jazz Festival. During this time, Willie was also performing on trumpet and Latin- percussion with Portuguese group, Alcides y Legacy. At his last year of high school, he received the, James J. Guido Salute to Youth Award given by the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County, State of California.
The next journey in his life began at the Phil Mattson’s School for Music Vocations. Here he developed a stronger foundation studying classical and jazz piano, trumpet, voice, instrumental and vocal arranging, among other subjects. Having great opportunities studying with many great teachers, performing in all genres of music, there was something said that gave him inspiration. “If you’re not practicing as much as you should, it doesn't mean you’re a bad person. It just means that you’re cheating yourself and ultimately you’ll have to cheat someone else.”
After graduating from School for Music Vocations, Willie attended the University of Northern Iowa (U.N.I.) majoring in trumpet performance and jazz studies. In his first year attending, he played trumpet and Latin-percussion in U.N.I. Jazz Band 1, which was one of the premier collegian jazz bands in the country. The band was under the direction of Pianist/Composer/Arranger, Bob Washut. Willie was fortunate to be part of winning another National Down Beat Award for Big Band Performance. The group performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, Lostrott 106 in Belgium, Tallcorn Jazz Festival, and the Kansas City Jazz Festival.
*** Lesson Details ***
The first several months of music instruction, the student will acquire a solid foundation in general music ranging from basic music theory, concept of rhythm etc. I am all about making the connection with music so you can keep it in your life forever for your enjoyment. All of my students who take music lessons from me all have their own method customize to what they want music to be in their lives. Within the first month of taking music lessons you will be making and creating music which will bring so much happiness with in yourself.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Lessons in a music studio, several music stands, piano, keyboards, drum set, bongos, African drums, timbali
*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect my students to have the instrument that they want to study at their homes if I am going to their location.
*** Specialties ***
Areas of specialization is Afro-Cuban Percussion and music. I have taught bass players, pianist and percussionists the concepts of Afro-Latin music. I also teach percussion concepts from Peru, Spain, Africa.
Willie takes time to know student, excellent teacher
My son raves about Willie after each session, states what he is learning such as scales, how to read music, practicing new songs and getting to hear and play new genres of music on his trumpet. My son states Willie reminds him of a teacher he had in Tucson that worked with youth who took time to know his students, ask about what is going on in their life, building a relationship. Willie is flexible on the times of day for class and responds quickly to calls when we need to take a vacation day. This has been a truly positive experience, my son keeps wanting to come back for more classes.
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