This Week in Music Class | Aug. 30, 2017 Our First "Great Musician" of the Year: Arturo Sandoval

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Welcome to a new series of posts I will be updating every week to highlight what is covered from week-to-week in my music classes* at Open Magnet Charter School. As much as possible, I will post audio and video recordings shared in the classroom and provide additional resources for learning beyond the classroom.

*Note: Students in Green cluster will typically follow their own unrelated curriculum, which is designed to more broadly introduce our youngest students to more basic music concepts. More on that in the future!


The first week of school, students were introduced to the first theme of the year “Great Musicians“. We discussed traits that make a music great. We played a game to help us learn the rules for the music class. We learned that this year students will have an opportunity to earn musicianship awards (more on this later). And, we were briefly introduced to the first great musician of the year: Arturo Sandoval.

This week, students will do an interactive class activity to demonstrate how much they remember about Arturo Sandoval. Then, students will watch the following two videos:

PARENT NOTICE: Videos are occasionally truncated or censored for showing to young students in the classroom. However, the videos below are in their original form and may rarely contain material deemed inappropriate. Parental guidance is suggested when viewing these or any videos posted to my web site and especially when following suggestions of related videos on YouTube once the initial video has completed. I, unfortunately, do not have the rights to post altered videos on this site.

Conversation with Arturo Sandoval

This video has clips of Arturo Sandoval playing music and talking about his experience as a musician. Midway through the video, other great musicians take a turn to speak about what makes Arturo a great musician.

Arturo Sandoval – Funky Cha Cha

In class, we will discuss Arturo Sandoval’s experience growing up in Cuba and being arrested for listening to music on an American radio station. In Cuba at the time of the Cold War, it was against the law to listen to any music but Cuban music. As much as Arturo loved Cuban music and played in one of few national bands, he also loved other music from around the world, such as Jazz and Classical music. Much of his life, he struggled to find the freedom to listen to and play whatever music he chose and eventually defected from Cuba and became a United States citizen. To this day, he advocates for people’s freedoms around the world.

As Arturo has such a wide taste in music, many of his songs are a blend of many different styles. This video is of a recent performance by Arturo Sandoval of the song “Funky Cha Cha”. This song has a blend of “Cha cha cha” music, which is from Cuba, and big band jazz. It also has elements of “American Funk” music. Students will be shown the parts of the video where Arturo plays both trumpet and timbales (latin drums).

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